Statistics Explained

Glossary:International standard classification of occupations (ISCO)

The International standard classification of occupations, abbreviated as ISCO, is an international classification under the responsibility of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for organising jobs into a clearly defined set of groups according to the tasks and duties undertaken in the job.

ISCO is intended both for use in compiling statistics and for client-oriented uses such as the recruitment of workers through employment offices, the management of migration of workers between countries and the development of vocational training programmes and guidance.

The first ISCO version, known as ISCO-58, was adopted in 1957 by the Ninth International Conference of Labour Statisticians; subsequent versions were ISCO-68 (Eleventh International Conference of Labour Statisticians, 1966), ISCO-88 (Fourteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians, 1987) and the fairly recent ISCO-08, adopted in December 2007.

Example (ISCO-88)


11 Legislators and senior officials
111 Legislators and senior government officials
114 Senior officials of special-interest organisations


21 Physical, mathematical and engineering science professionals
211 Physicists, chemists and related professionals
2111 Physicists and astronomers
2112 Meteorologists
2113 Chemists
2114 Geologists and geophysicists

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