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Key characteristics

  • Skill level references are not made in the definitions of the two major groups entitled Legislators, senior officials and managers and Armed forces respectively, because other aspects of the type of work were considered more important as similarity criteria, i.e. policy making and management functions, and military duties, respectively. As a result there are significant skill level differences between the jobs classified to each of these two major groups. However, the sub major and minor groups of the first major group have been designed to include occupations at similar skill levels.

  • A distinction is made at the major group level between (a) occupations that are essentially craft oriented (i.e. major group 6 "Skilled agricultural and fishery workers" and 7 "Craft and related trades workers"), and (b) occupations that are essentially oriented towards the operation of tools, machinery and industrial plants (i.e. major group 8 "Plant and machine operators and assemblers") to cope with the issue of different skill requirements for jobs with similar purposes, due to differences in technologies used.

  • o Occupations which are craft oriented consist of skilled jobs directly involved in the production of goods or services, where the tasks and duties require an understanding of and experience with the natural resources and raw materials used and how to achieve the desired result. The workers in these jobs may also use more technologically advanced tools and machines, provided that this does not change the basic skills and understanding required for the jobs. Modern machines and tools may be used to reduce the amount of physical effort and/or time required for specific tasks, or to increase the quality of the products.

    o On the other hand, the tasks and duties of jobs in occupations which are oriented towards the operation of tools, machinery and industrial plants primarily require an understanding of the machines: how to operate them properly, how to identify malfunctioning and what to do when something goes wrong. The skills required are oriented towards the machines and what they are doing rather than to the transformation process as such or its results. Occupations where the tasks and duties consist of assembling products from component parts according to strict rules and procedures are considered to belong to the same major group as the machine oriented occupations. Jobs which only require low or elementary skills and little or no judgement are classified to occupations in major group 9.

  • Occupational groups which require different skill levels (because of differences in the degree of judgement, responsibility and planning) in different countries, and sometimes within the same country, can be classified in different major groups than those assigned in ISCO-88. This possibility was explicitly created for primary, pre primary and special teaching occupations, nursing and midwifery occupations, social work occupations and some artistic occupations.

  • Jobs with a broad range of tasks and duties are handled by the application of priority rules, i.e. some tasks and duties are given priority in determining the occupational category to which a job should be classified:

  • o in cases where the tasks and duties are associated with different stages of the process of producing and distributing goods and services, the tasks and duties related to the production stages should take priority over associated tasks and duties, such as those related to the sale and marketing of the same goods, their transportation or the management of the production process (unless either of these associated tasks and duties dominates). For example, the worker who bakes bread and pastries and then sells them should be classified as "baker", not as "sales assistant"; the worker who operates a particular type of machinery and also instructs new workers in how to operate the machine should be classified with the machine operators; the taxi driver who drives his/her own car and also keeps the accounts should be classified with motor vehicle drivers; and

    o in cases where the tasks and duties performed require skills usually obtained through different levels of training and experience, jobs should be classified in accordance with those tasks and duties which require the highest level of skill. For example: there are a number of jobs whose tasks and duties most of the time require a set of relatively easily obtained skills, but where the workers are also expected to have skills which require more training or experience, to make it possible to cope with unexpected and infrequent situations, e.g. to avoid accidents or injuries.

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 Updated 10 August 2004, by VA.