National Compensation Survey - Wages

Using The Occupational Classification System Manual (OCSM)

A. OCSM Coding System
B. Steps For Getting The Proper Occupation Classification

1. Obtain a job description
2. Determine the nature, duties, and responsibilities of the job
3. Determine the Major Occupational Group (MOG)
4. Determine the appropriate "Sub-MOG"
5. Determine the correct Census code for the job

C. Special Topics

1. Cross References
2. Defining Apprentices, Helpers, and Laborers for NCS Purposes
3. Defining Managers and Supervisors for NCS Purposes
4. N.E.C. Occupations

A. OCSM Coding System

The OCSM is based on the 1990 Census of Population and Housing Classified Index of Industries and Occupations. The Census Bureau categorizes the occupations of individuals recorded by the decennial Census and creates the Census Index. The Census Index classifies occupations into about 500 occupation classifications within 13 major group categories.

MOGs Defined

A Major Occupation Group (MOG) is an NCS term referring to a particular occupation group used in the programs. The MOGs are based on Census occupation groupings and are composed of Census occupation classifications. The BLS combines the thirteen Census occupational groups into eleven MOGs. Currently, nine of eleven MOGs are in scope for the NCS surveys. The eleven MOGs with their alphabetic assigned code are listed below:

MOG

Title

In-scope?

A

Professional, Technical, and Related Occupations

YES

B

Executive, Administrative, and Managerial Occupations

YES

C

Sales Occupations

YES

D

Administrative Support Occupations

YES

E

Precision, Production, Craft, and Repair Occupations

YES

F

Machine Operators, Assemblers, and Inspectors

YES

G

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations

YES

H

Handlers, Equipment Cleaners, Helpers, and Laborers

YES

I

Farming, Forestry, and Fishing Occupations*

NO

K

Service Occupations

YES

L

Private Household Occupations*

NO

*Farming, Forestry, and Fishing, and Private Household MOGs are out of scope for the NCS surveys. Selected agricultural occupations found in the nonfarm sector are included in MOG H (H483-H498). All other MOG I and MOG L occupations are out-of-scope for NCS.

Nearly all Census occupations are used in the OCSM. In addition, BLS has chosen to identify at least one Not Elsewhere Classified (N.E.C.) occupation within each MOG. This action has necessitated the creation of occupational classifications that are not included by the Census. The N.E.C. occupation category is included in each MOG to ensure that a classification exists for that occupation. A note appears for each OCSM occupation that varies from the Census classification. See "Special topics" for additional information regarding N.E.C. occupations.

NCS adds the corresponding Major Occupation Group (MOG) alpha code to a three-digit occupation code to establish a four character occupation code. The alpha MOG code (A, B, C, etc.) is the first character of the code. The remaining characters are numeric and correspond to the numeric codes that are assigned by the Census. For example, the four character code for "Lawyers" is A178. The MOG code is "A" and the numeric Census code is "178."

B. Steps For Getting The Proper Occupation Classification

In order to publish data by any occupational breakdown, BLS must classify each job correctly using the OCSM. Matching solely by title often leads to error. The duties and responsibilities of the position must be used to ensure a proper match.

1. Obtain a job description

2. Determine the nature, duties, and responsibilities of the job

Do the employees supervise other people? Are the employees expected to show judgment in determining what tasks need to be done?

All of this information is used to determine the proper classification.

3. Determine the Major Occupational Group (MOG)

Occupational classification focuses on the duties of the job, rather than what a particular incumbent might do in a job. The duties of the job determine the Major Occupational Group. In an engineering firm, for example, some of the engineers may lend their expertise to help out with accounting, budgeting, or sales. Nevertheless, the intent of the job is engineering, despite occasional tasks that cross into other MOGs.

4. Determine the appropriate "Sub-MOG"

A "Sub-MOG" is a term invented by BLS to refer to a group of similar occupations. The OCSM lists the occupations by Sub-MOGs. Examples include "Engineers, Architects, and Surveyors" and "Mechanics and Repairers".

The 9 MOGs are broken up into 62 Sub-MOGs. MOG A has the most Sub-MOGs, with 15. MOG B has only one Sub-MOG with the other MOGs somewhere in between.

Once the MOG is determined, the most appropriate Sub-MOG is determined based on the duties and responsibilities of the job.

If a job can not be classified in a Sub-MOG, the MOG-level Not Elsewhere Classified (N.E.C.) codes are used.

Not all jobs have overall MOG N.E.C. jobs. Here’s a list:

MOG

Overall MOG N.E.C. jobs

A

YES

B

NO

C

YES

D

YES

E

NO

F

NO

G

YES

H

YES

K

YES

5. Determine the correct Census code for the job

After determining the correct Sub-MOG for a job, the Census code that best fits the duties and responsibilities of a job is determined.

If a job can not be classified in any of the jobs in the Sub-MOG, a Sub-MOG level N.E.C. code is used. These are jobs which can be matched to a particular Sub-MOG, but not to any particular job in the Sub-MOG.

C. SPECIAL TOPICS

1. Cross References

Cross references are included if two or more Census occupations occur with similar job functions or titles. The cross references are exclusion statements that precede the Census occupation description for the pertinent occupations. For example, immediately preceding the description for occupation A063 (Surveyors and Mapping Scientists) is the statement, "Exclude Surveyor Helpers (H866) and Surveying and Mapping Technicians (A218)." Prior to matching a job to A063, verify that the establishment job matches the occupation description for A063 and does not more appropriately fit the descriptions for H866 or A218.

2. Defining Apprentices, Helpers, and Laborers for NCS Purposes

Four related jobs categories—apprentices, helpers, laborers, and journey level workers—are given special attention in the OCSM. These jobs are prevalent in many industries, especially manufacturing and construction.

a. For NCS purposes apprentices are workers who learn a recognized skill, craft, or trade requiring one or more years of on-the-job training through job experience supplemented by related instruction. Usually, before entering an apprenticeship program certain requirements must be fulfilled. Apprenticeship is a program that can be defined through a contract or agreement.

b. For NCS purposes helpers are semi-skilled workers who assist other workers who usually have higher levels of competence or expertise. Helpers perform a variety of duties such as furnishing another worker with materials, tools, and supplies; cleaning work areas, machines, and equipment; feeding or offbearing machines; holding materials or tools; and performing other routine duties. A helper may learn a trade but does so informally and without contract or agreement with the employer.

c. For NCS purposes laborers are unskilled workers who perform tasks at the work area. Laborers perform unskilled tasks, primarily manual, and do not have an area of trade specialization.

d. For NCS purposes journey level workers are workers who have completed a specified training program or apprenticeship program or have qualifying experience in a craft or trade.

e. Summary
Apprentices are included with the corresponding skilled census occupation unless specifically excluded. If the apprentice job is excluded, you will find the appropriate match specific to the apprentice within the same MOG as the skilled occupation. All apprentices are matched with their corresponding skilled occupations except for 8 MOG E specific apprentice jobs.

Helpers are excluded from skilled occupations (and corresponding MOG) unless the job description specifically included them. All those excluded will be matched in MOG H.

Construction helpers specialize in a particular craft or trade. Helpers (outside the construction industry) whose duties are limited or are primarily engaged in one type of activity are classified according to the appropriate laborer occupation in MOG H. Other helpers are classified in MOG H in the appropriate helper occupation.

3. Defining Managers and Supervisors for NCS Purposes

Managers and supervisors are employees who are distinguished by what they control or oversee. Managers control functions of a department or organization while supervisors oversee employees in job activities to ensure that the objectives set by the managers are realized. Both managers and supervisors are included in NCS.

a. Managers are employees who plan, organize, direct, and control the functions of an establishment or department through subordinates at the managerial or supervisory level. Managers make decisions and establish objectives for the department or establishment. Generally they are not concerned with the fabrication of products or the provision of services.

Managers preside over supervisors and, in some cases, other managers (except in small establishments where the manager may serve as supervisor). Managers assume responsibility for the products or services of the department or establishment. Most managers are classified in MOG B.

b. Supervisors are employees who oversee and coordinate the activities of workers. Supervisors assign duties, examine the work performed, and monitor work performance and work procedures. They analyze and try to resolve work problems. Supervisors also suggest and initiate plans for increased work efficiency. Supervisors may possess knowledge of and perform the work of the employees they oversee. Supervisors work closely with employees and are usually classified in the MOG of the workers they direct.

Some managerial occupations may perform both managerial duties and responsibilities similar to those of a supervisor, particularly in small departments or establishments and retail and wholesale trade establishments. The classification of this occupation is based on the amount of control the employee maintains over the functions of the department or establishment in which the employee works.

See the following table for additional information regarding the relationship between managers and supervisors.

Managers

Supervisors

Establish objectives, make decisions, and set standards for the department or establishment. Carry out management decisions by directing employees toward goals and objectives
May preside over supervisors and other managers (except in small establishments where manager can also serve as supervisor). Do not preside over other supervisors and/or manager.
Generally are unconcerned with the tasks required to meet department or establishment goals. Directly oversee employees in job activities and may be skilled to perform these duties. Possess knowledge of operational procedures, capabilities, and performance.

4. N.E.C. Occupations

The Census occupations are all inclusive in coverage. In other words, any establishment occupation (except in MOGs I and L) can be matched. To guarantee this full coverage of occupations, certain occupations are designated "Not Elsewhere Classified" (N.E.C.).

An N.E.C. occupation captures the occupations not specifically classified or included in a separate Census occupation. N.E.C. occupations are at or below the MOG level. For example, occupation D336 (Records Clerks N.E.C.) is below the MOG because the occupation is restricted to include only those records clerks in MOG D who cannot be classified in one of the specific records clerks occupations. Occupation D389 (Administrative Support Occupations, N.E.C.) is at the MOG level because the occupation is a catch-all for all MOG D occupations that do not match specific MOG D occupations but maintain the distinction of administrative support or clerical occupations.

Go to the Occupational Classification System Manual

Last modified: October 16, 2001

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