About ISCO

Introduction to ISCO

Source: https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/concepts-and-definitions/classification-occupation/ 

The International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) is a globally recognized framework for classifying and organizing occupations. Developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), ISCO is designed to provide a basis for occupational statistics and job classifications worldwide, enabling employers, job seekers, policymakers, and researchers to navigate and analyze the labor market effectively.

Understanding ISCO

Structure and Categories

ISCO organizes jobs into a set hierarchy, categorizing occupations based on the tasks and duties performed. The structure is divided into 10 major groups, each further subdivided into sub-major, minor, and unit groups, offering detailed insights into the nature and levels of various occupations.

Key Features

  • Standardization: Facilitates international comparison and analysis of labor data.
  • Flexibility: Adapts to national and sector-specific contexts.
  • Comprehensiveness: Covers all jobs in the world economy, providing a complete picture of the labor market.

Benefits of ISCO

For Employers

Employers use ISCO to standardize job descriptions, streamline recruitment, and plan workforce development, ensuring a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities across industries.

For Individuals

Job seekers and professionals utilize ISCO to explore career paths, understand skill requirements, and align their aspirations with market needs, fostering informed career decisions.

For Researchers and Policymakers

ISCO serves as a critical tool for analyzing employment trends, informing policy development, and planning educational programs to meet future labor market demands.

Employers can use ISCO to review and refine job classifications, ensuring their pay structures and role descriptions align with the principles of the EU Directive. This alignment helps in promoting gender equality and fair pay practices across all levels of an organization.

The International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) provides a broad categorization and organization of occupations based on characteristic tasks and duties. Although ISCO is a useful tool for statistical and analytical purposes in the labor market and education, it may have certain limitations in directly reflecting the specific criteria defined in Directive (EU) 2023/970, which requires an assessment of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women, emphasizing:

Skills: Knowledge and abilities needed for performing the job. 

Effort: Physical or mental effort required for the job. 

Responsibility: Level of responsibility and decision-making the job requires. 

Working Conditions: Physical environment and other external factors affecting the work situation. 

ISCO primarily focuses on categorizing occupations based on information about duties, skills, and typically performed work. Although it can serve as a basis for identifying and comparing occupations, the ISCO classification itself may not directly provide detailed or specific information about the level of effort, responsibility, and working conditions associated with each occupation, which are criteria required by the directive for evaluating and comparing work of equal value.

For the purposes of applying the directive and ensuring equal pay, it would be necessary to supplement ISCO with additional tools or methods that would more closely address and quantify the above-mentioned specific criteria. This could include the development and use of gender-neutral job evaluation and classification systems that explicitly consider skills, effort, responsibility, and working conditions of each occupation or job position to ensure fair and objective analysis and comparison of work of equal value.