National Classification of Occupations Updated!

Classification of occupations is the key tool for understanding the structure of the labour market according to particular occupations. A new decree has been in force since January.

Classification of occupations SK ISCO-08 is one of the outputs of the national project Sector-driven Innovations towards an Efficient Labour Market in the Slovak Republic, which was successfully achieved thanks to a methodological guidance from the side of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. Especially, in the current turbulent period, it is extremely important to monitor developments on the labour market, whereas economic activity and the income are the fundamental precondition of individual and public welfare. For an authentic illustration of actual structures of subjects examined is essential to update classifications regularly. Even more, when it comes to the area of occupations which are changing by speed previous generations didn´t even dream about.

However, we are not witnessing the massive creation of new and termination of obsolete occupations. Tasks, workload, skills, knowledge is changing. Employees use new tools, equipment, software. Digital skills are needed in almost every occupation. School education is sufficient for a first job. It is necessary to keep learning for both mental and physical work.

National classification based on an international standard

Classification of occupations SK ISCO-08 is one of the few national classifications. The long-term trend, not only in Slovakia, is an adoption of an international standard to comply with international data reporting requirements. On the other hand, we are missing out the opportunity to take fully in account national requirements and targets, ensured in the classification SK ISCO-08. Weakness is also the inflexibility of the revision/updating of international standard classifications. In the case of ISCO-08, which is an international standard valid for the whole world, the revision takes place every 20 years, which is insufficient.

There are no proper unit groups to classify many new occupations, or  it is ambiguous, causing different national approaches. These may subsequently be inconsistent in international data comparisons. The national structure of the labour market is very specific in each country, primarily determined by the size of the market, level of economic development and, in particular, by the structure of the national economy. For example, a larger labour market creates more specific occupations. Their employment is much higher, which opens the door to classification. Slovak users even prefer a shorter update period, which is currently from 4 to 5 years.

New year, new classification

The national classification of occupations SK ISCO-08 was issued by the Decree of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic no. 449/2020 and from 1.1.2020 replaced the previous version issued in 2015. The Slovak Republic took the path of publishing the complete structure also with occupations, which have not changed compared to the previous version. The goal was clear – to clarify and simplify its use. Another approach is applied, for example, in the Czech Republic. CZ-ISCO is changed more often by specifying changes.

Before the classification was issued, the process of updating took almost 2 years and consisted mainly of examination of occupations, skills, employers’ requirements and various international systems for the selection of those occupations that currently occur in the labour market in the Slovak Republic. Twenty-four sector skills councils played a key role. The sector skills councils provided the most suggestions, which have been converted into the final text of SK ISCO-08. The most active sector skills councils include:

  • Information technology and telecommunications,
  • Chemistry and pharmacy,
  • Healthcare, social services,
  • Transport, logistics, postal services.

Several databases and registers were used as information sources, for example, job portal ISTP (, HISCO assistant (, European Classification of Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations ESCO, national classifications of occupations from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, database of regulated professions and activities in the Slovak Republic and The Informational system on labour costs (ISCP). Key role in the conducting update played Steering committee deciding on each change. Its members were representatives of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic, the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family and the company TREXIMA Bratislava.

More occupations

Changes in classification SK ISCO-08 consisted mainly in adding new and eliminating obsolete occupations. Mergers and splitting have also taken place. The updated classification of occupations SK ISCO-08 has a total of 2,448 occupations (7-digit codes), which is a global increase of 136 occupations. The comparison of the number of occupations in major groups of the current and previous version of SK ISCO-08 is given in the following table.

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Source: TREXIMA Bratislava

The comparison confirms a trend of increasing the number of occupations in the major group 2 Professionals. In total, 67 % of the new occupations belong to this mayor group.

Impulses changing the structure of employment

The reasons for the emergence of new occupations on the labour market include:  

  • Developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) – for example, Digital Transformation Specialist, IT Auditor, Systems Development Specialist (DevOps), Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Ethical Hacker, Digital Forensic Specialist,
  • Changes in the approach to ecology – for example, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Specialist, Renewable Energy Equipment and Systems Specialist, Airport Biological Protection Methodologist, Recycling Technologist, Irrigation Specialist,
  • Expansion of health care – such as Art Therapist, Music Therapist and Animotherapist,
  • Legislative changes – for example, Energy auditor, Asbestos removal operative, Transport Safety Advisor, Competition Law Specialist,
  • Development of services – for example, Internet Sales Specialist, Social Networking Specialist, Clothing Stylist, Healthy Lifestyle Consultant, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Specialist, Barber, Podiatrist,
  • Technological progress (excluding ICT) – for example 3D Material Printing Technician, Robotics Specialist, Chematronics, Precision Agriculture Specialist, Remote Pilot, Financial Innovation Specialist.

 Use of SK ISCO-08

The analysis of user needs showed that this classification is used mainly for the following purposes:

  • Collection, comparison and analysis of statistical data
  • Evaluation of vacancies in relation to job seekers
  • Human resources management
  • Employment services
  • Recruitment of new employees
  • Renumeration of employees – wage systems
  • Forecasting labour market needs
  • Reporting work accidents
  • Creation of job catalogue
  • Career guidance
  • Education planning
  • Descriptions of civil servant positions
  • Employment of Foreign Nationals

Almost all users work with a 7-digit code, i.e. with the national, most detailed level of occupations, which clearly demonstrates its importance. The most important users of the classification are offices of labour, social affairs and family. SK ISCO-08 is needed for client registration, reporting of vacancies, finding suitable jobs, active labour market measures, collective redundancies, hiring of employees from third countries, etc.

Help for users of SK ISCO-08

Users have access to the updated online coding tool HISCO (Help ISCO), which is available on the website and offers four main functions to find a proper code.

A huge progress is the creation of the coding tool ISCODE – a web service for simple occupation coding. Based on the entered letters and words, it creates an offer of suitable occupations always individually on the basis of other available variables. ISCODE will also be deployed in the forthcoming Census of Population, Housing and Dwellings.

Jozef Krabáč, TREXIMA Bratislava

Department of productivity and employment

E-mail: [email protected]