Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) Extension Project

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a coding framework used to classify occupations, enabling comparisons of occupations across different datasets. It assigns all jobs a 4-digit code based on the skills and qualifications needed for the job. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for maintaining and updating the SOC codes.

Some SOC users have said the existing 4-digit structure is not detailed enough for their needs. In response to this, ONS commenced a project to develop a more detailed version of the classification: The SOC Extension Project (SOC EXT).

We’ve completed extensive stakeholder engagement and data investigation to inform and develop a draft of the SOC 2020 extended framework (ods 63KB). This work remains experimental in nature meaning that statistical production to this level is not currently available.

Further details about our research including meeting minutes, stakeholder feedback reports, our methodologies and findings are available on request by emailing

Information relating to SOC2020 at 4 digits, including the structure and unit group descriptions can be accessed via the ONS website.