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Understanding NOC Codes

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) organizes Canada's working world into a manageable system.

While its primary purpose is to assist in compiling labour market statistics, job seekers can also use the NOC to research occupations that match their skills, interests and abilities.  

The NOC: what is it?

The NOC is a standard coding system for about 40,000 job titles across Canada. Every one of the occupations listed in the NOC database is assigned a 5-number code.

These NOC codes identify the industry type and the required skill levels. Skills levels for each job are based on a combination of the training a person needs to work in a specific role and the experience they need to enter into it.

It’s a robust database that helps in many ways:

  • Employers can use it write job descriptions.
  • Career counsellors can use it to better understand employment trends.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses NOC codes to evaluate immigration applicants' work experiences. Each applicant must identify their work experience using the NOC code that best matches their experience. 
  • Job seekers can use it to pursue jobs that fit with their knowledge, skills, and experience.

In alis, occupational profiles are based on the 2006 NOC.

Why do we need it?

As the modern workplace evolves and new work roles are created, new job titles appear and existing job titles morph. Across multiple organizations, the same job title can carry dramatically different expectations in terms of the job description, required qualifications, and expected salary.

Collecting and tracking accurate workforce statistics becomes an impossible feat. Without access to meaningful market trends, career counsellors struggle to effectively advise those looking for work about their options. Job seekers can wind up feeling a bit unsure of what kind of job they should be looking for based on their experience and qualifications.

How you can use NOC to help in your job search

Whether you’re just starting out on your career path or progressing along it, you can use NOC codes to target employment opportunities that could be a good fit.


Occupations in Demand

Want to know what jobs Alberta employers will need to fill over the next few years? Researchers keep an eye on the labour market. They put together lists of occupations that are likely to be in high, medium, or lower demand over the next 3 years. Take a look and see if any might work for you.

You can use NOC to research:

  • Job descriptions
  • Required education or credentials
  • Required skills
  • Related jobs
  • Average pay
  • The likelihood of finding work in a given occupation based on market trends

If you don’t know the NOC code

You can look up the NOC code for any occupation here.

If you'd like to understand what all those numbers mean, the Government of Canada has a great introductory NOC tutorial online.

A national standard for national access

Not surprisingly, the Canadian Government’s national Job Bank also uses NOC codes to organize job postings. Search the name of an occupation you’re interested in, click on a corresponding job opportunity and the NOC code will autofill on the right. Click on that NOC to access all the details about the occupation at large.

Take your job search to the next level

It might take a bit of practice, but once you’re familiar with how to use NOC codes you will be able to access loads of valuable information for just about every occupation imaginable.

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