System for Grouping Industries

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We will briefly consider each of the major industrial sectors. A widely used system for grouping industries is called the Standard Industrial Classification System (SICS) (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 1972). This system has ten major divisions that in turn are divided into eighty-four classifications that include specific industries. The ten major industrial sectors slightly rearranged and regrouped.

Government service provided jobs for about 15.8 million civilian workers in 1982. Of these, approximately one worker in six worked for the Federal Government and the rest were employed by state and local units, including counties, cities, townships, school districts, and similar divisions.

Approximately two million other persons are members of the Armed Forces. Many military jobs are identical to civilian jobs; others are unique to the military. Nevertheless, members of the Armed Forces are considered to be outside the public and private domains of the civilian economy. Thus when one refers to the government sector, this does not include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.

Because of the special character of governmental activities, the distribution of workers differs considerably from that of the so-called private domain. For example, two-thirds of government workers are white-collar workers while less than half of the private domain workers fit this category. Thirty-five percent of government workers are professional or technical, compared with only 11 percent of private industry workers. Only 14 percent of government workers are blue-collar workers, but 37 percent of workers in private industry are classified as blue collar.

As mentioned above, agricultural employment is expected to continue its decline, although probably at a slower pace. Large increases in productivity in agriculture have permitted fewer workers to produce more food and fiber than in previous years. For example, output per hour of all workers in the farm sector increased almost five percent per year between 1959 and 1977 while nonfarm workers increased productivity at a two or three percent rate before 1973 and at a one percent rate since 1973. These rapid gains started to slow and the decrease in agricultural jobs began to moderate.

The mining and petroleum sector produces much of the raw material and energy sources used by industry and private consumers. Within the energy areas are coal mining and the finding and extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas. These industries account for approximately 75 percent of the workers in this sector. Other industries in this sector include iron mining, copper mining, and mining of other metals such as gold, stone and clay mining and quarrying, and chemical and fertilizer mineral mining. The total sector employed 742,000 workers in 1982. Even with the growth expected to be produced by increased efforts to become more energy self-sufficient, this sector will probably continue to include only about one percent of the labor force.

Construction Sector

The construction sector includes the building of new homes, nonresidential buildings, public utilities, and highways, all other new construction, and maintenance and repair construction. Over five million workers were employed in this sector in 1982. About 80 percent were blue-collar workers, with more than half of the total group being craft workers such as carpenters, electricians, painters, and plumbers. About half of the workers in this sector are employed by special trade contractors who often subcontract to perform specific parts of a larger construction job. About one-third work for general building contractors. The remaining one-fifth is involved in heavy construction projects such as dams, bridges, and roads.

Manufacturing is one of the largest industrial sectors, employing almost one-fourth of all workers. The sector's size also reflects its diversity. It consists of two broad areas, durable goods and nondurable goods. The first of these includes fifty-nine industries and about three-fifths of the workers, and the second encompasses thirty-six industries. Some of these industries, motor vehicle and apparel, for example, are each larger than the entire mining and petroleum sector. In spite of the tremendous range of products created by the manufacturing sector, ten industries employ approximately 75% of all manufacturing workers. These ten industries include the following:

Durable goods Nondurable goods

Machinery, except electrical Food products

Electric and electronic equipment Clothing and other textile products

Transportation equipment Printing and publishing

Fabricated metal products Chemicals

Iron, steel, and other primary metals Textile mill products

As is true of the other sectors, manufacturing has its own unique composition of workers. Nearly two-thirds are blue-collar workers, and of these the largest group consists of machine operatives, who account for about 40 percent of all manufacturing employees. The next largest section of blue-collar workers is the craft group, amounting to about 20 percent of the total workers. Clerical workers (about 12 percent of the total) make up the largest group of the white-collar workers, followed by the professional and technical workers, who fill about 10 percent of the jobs.

Transportation, communications, and public utilities provide quite different services and products, but they are often grouped together because they are considered to be public service activities and are either owned or regulated by governmental agencies. This sector is about the same size as the construction sector, including slightly more than 5.5 million workers in 1982. In addition to the obvious transportation systems of railroads, local and interurban buses, trucks, and air and water transportation, this category includes pipeline transportation and supporting services for each network. The communications area includes radio and television broadcasting and all other communications, the largest part being telephone systems. Utilities include electric, gas, and water and sewer systems. Among these components, the largest is motor freight transportation and warehousing, employing about 1.5 million workers. The communications area includes about 1.2 million workers, and the public utility area has about 800,000. Within transportation, the largest group of employees is operatives, followed by craft and clerical workers. In the communications area the largest group are clerical workers, and in the utilities most employees are craft workers.

Wholesale and retail trade is another very large sector, including approximately 22.5 million workers in 1982, about three-fourths of them in the retail area. The wholesalers assemble materials from the producers, sometimes recombine them in variously sized lots, and distribute them to retail stores or large users such as schools, hospitals, and industrial firms. The retailers sell goods or services directly to consumers in stores, by mail and telephone, or through door-to-door contact. Although the customer ordinarily is most likely to have contact with a sales worker, sales jobs account for only about one-fifth of the jobs in this sector. Only slightly smaller numbers are employed as managers and administrators, service workers, and clerical workers.

Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

Finance, insurance, and real estate employ almost six million people, most of whom are clerical workers. The finance area, including banking, credit agencies, and financial brokers, employs about 2.3 million employees. Insurance has about 1, 8 million workers, and real estate slightly over one million. The clerical workers are heavily concentrated in the finance and insurance areas, while sales workers predominate in real estate. In the 1980s, finance and insurance are expected to grow more rapidly than real estate.

The services sector includes a wide array of activities scattered across seventeen industries and is approached in size only by trade and manufacturing. This sector would include almost 32 million workers or nearly a third of the entire labor force if government workers are classified in the sector. Under this heading one finds hotels and lodging places, barber and beauty shops, advertising agencies, automobile repair shops, amusements, doctor and dental services, and educational and other services.

One-third of service workers are professional and technical, the highest proportion in all the sectors. Other large groups include service workers and clerical workers. Less than one-tenth of the employees are blue-collar workers. During the 1980s growth is expected to be greater, both in percentage and in actual numbers, in the service sector than in any other area.

The Standard Industrial Classification System (SICS) has been developed to provide a method for tabulating and comparing data collected on an industry base. Industries are classified according to the type of activity in which they engage. The SICS is described in detail in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual published by the Office of Management and Budget and, like other government publications, printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office.

The SICS divides industries into ten major divisions that correspond to the nine areas we have just discussed except that wholesale and retail trade are considered as separate divisions and also an eleventh group, "non-classifiable establishments," is added. The ten major divisions are divided into eighty-four major groups, each of which is further divided into closely related industries. A coding system of two, three, and four digits is used to identify the grouping level.

When we think of the various tasks performed by the worker regardless of where they are accomplished we think in terms of occupations. Technically, we use the term occupation to represent a set of tasks widely recognized as usually performed by a single worker, for example, a physician, secretary, tile-setter, short-order cook, or bus driver.

Because we live in a very complex, technical society we now have a very large number of occupations--so many, in fact, that it would be difficult to specify precisely how many there are. The number would depend upon how very closely related sets of tasks are grouped or divided. For example, should one consider "high school teacher" as one occupation or English teacher, foreign language teacher, biology teacher, chemistry teacher, mathematics teacher, physical education teacher, social studies teacher, and speech teacher as eight occupations? In some cases it is advantageous to group broadly and in other situations specificity is best.

Two of the systems are closely related and can be considered together. Both are used by the Department of Labor, probably the primary source of most printed information about occupations. One system, used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is based directly upon systems developed for the 1960 and 1970 Decennial Census. The second system, developed by the Employment and Training Division, is used in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977), the most widely used classification and coding system for occupations. The two groupings are presented side by side so that the reader can easily see the high degree of similarity. The DOT system has been rearranged in order to demonstrate the comparability of the two groupings.

Professional and Technical Workers

Professional and technical workers are concerned with the theoretical and practical aspects of such fields as architecture, engineering, the sciences, medicine, education, law, theology, art, and entertainment. Most of these occupations require lengthy educational preparation at college or other advanced levels. During the 1980s this group is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent, from slightly over 14.2 to about 16.9 million workers.

Managers and administrators are involved in the operation and direction of organizations such as businesses. Examples of occupations include bank officers, buyers, credit managers, and managers of fast-food restaurants. This group is expected to increase by slightly more than 21 percent during the 1980s, from about 10.1 to 12.2 million workers.

Sales workers include those individuals concerned with influencing customers in favor of a commodity or service and those workers closely related to this process. Workers are primarily employed in wholesale and retail trade and by manufacturing, insurance, or real-estate companies. Employment is expected to increase by about 27 percent by 1990 to approximately 7.6 million workers.

Clerical workers are those employees who prepare, transcribe, systematize, or preserve written communications and records, or distribute information, or collect accounts. These include bank tellers, bookkeepers, secretaries, typists, and cashiers. Although technological developments are expected to influence most occupations in this group during the next decade, the field is still expected to increase more than any other.

Private household service workers and other service workers are treated separately by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but grouped together by the DOT. The first group of workers performs duties in private households such as cleaning, making beds, caring for children, planning meals, marketing, and cooking. The second group includes those who are involved in preparing and serving food and drink in commercial or institutional establishments, providing lodging and related services, providing grooming, cosmetics, and other personal and health care services, maintaining and cleaning clothing, providing protection for people and property, and cleaning or maintenance services to interiors of buildings. Private household workers are expected to decline in number still further in the 1980s to about 890,000 workers, a loss of about 26 percent. Other service workers make up the fastest growing group and are expected to increase by about 35 percent to approximately 15.8 million.

Farm workers are concerned with propagating, growing, caring for, and harvesting plant- and animal-life products. Increased technological efficiency has required a decreasing number of workers. Employment in this field is expected to decrease by about 14 percent to approximately 2.4 million by 1990.

The remaining categories of craft workers, operatives, and laborers roughly correspond to the skilled, semiskilled, and unskilled levels used in the first two editions of the DOT. Beginning with the third edition of the DOT, these workers are regrouped according to the type of work rather than the level of skill. Consequently, there is now no direct comparison between the labels used in the two systems. We will look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics titles first and then define the DOT categories.

Craft workers are highly skilled workers such as carpenters, tool-and-die makers, machinists, electricians, and mechanics. Long periods of apprenticeship or on-the-job training are usually required to develop the level of skill demanded by these occupations. These workers are expected to increase in number by about 20 percent to approximately 14.9 million by 1990.

Operatives run various machines or processes used primarily in the production of goods. Typical occupations include assemblers, production painters, and welders. The field is expected to increase by about 15 percent to nearly 12.5 million workers by 1990.

Transport operatives are involved in driving various types of vehicles and equipment. This group includes bus drivers, truckers, forklift operators, and taxi drivers. The number of transport operatives will increase by about 17 percent to 4.1 million by 1990.

Nonfarm laborers are involved in occupations that can be learned fairly rapidly, from a short demonstration only or from not more than thirty days of on-the-job training. Examples of these occupations include garbage collectors, construction laborers, and freight handlers.

Processing Occupations

Processing occupations are defined by the DOT as those concerned with refining, mixing, compounding, chemically treating, heat treating, or similarly working materials in solid, fluid, semi-fluid, or gaseous states to prepare them for use as basic materials, stock for further manufacturing treatment, or for sale as finished products to commercial users. Knowledge of a process and adherence to formulas or other specifications are required to some degree. Vats, stills, ovens, furnaces, mixing machines, crushers, grinders, and related machines and equipment usually are involved. The group includes occupations involved in processing metal, ore, food, tobacco, paper, petroleum, chemicals, wood, stone, leather, and other materials.

Machine trades occupations include those concerned with the operation of machines that cut, bore, mill, abrade, print, and similarly work with such materials as metal, paper, wood, plastics, and stone. A worker's relationship to the machine is of primary importance. The more complicated jobs require an understanding of machine functions, blueprint reading, making mathematical computations, and exercising judgment to attain conformance to specifications. In other jobs, eye and hand coordination may be the most significant factor. Installation, repair, and maintenance of machines and mechanical equipment, and weaving, knitting, spinning, and similarly working textiles are included. Typical jobs in this group include machinists, grinders, punch press operators, automobile mechanics, typesetters, and cabinetmakers.

Bench work occupations are those concerned with using body members, hand tools, and bench machines to fabricate, inspect, or repair relatively small products such as jewelry, phonographs, light bulbs, musical instruments, tires, footwear, pottery, and garments. The work is usually performed at a set position or station in a mill, plant, or shop, at a bench, worktable, or conveyor. Workers in more complex jobs may be required to read blueprints, follow patterns, use a variety of hand tools, and assume responsibility for meeting standards. Other jobs may only require workers to follow standardized procedures. Some occupations included in this group are jeweler, silversmith, watch repairer, television and radio repairer, piano tuner, assembler, stone cutter, glassblower, tailor, and shoemaker.

Structural work occupations include those occupations involved with fabricating, erecting, installing, paving, painting, and repairing structures and structural parts such as bridges, buildings, roads, motor vehicles, cables, internal combustion engines, girders, plates, and frames. Generally, work is done outdoors, except for factory production-line occupations. The worker's relationship to hand tools and power tools is more important than that to stationary machines, which are also used. Knowledge of the properties (stress, strain, durability, resistance) of the materials used (wood, metal, concrete, glass, clay) is often a requirement. Representative occupations include riveter, structural-steel worker, sheet-metal worker, boilermaker, rigger, test driver, electrician, paperhanger, bulldozer operator, carpenter, plumber, and chimney sweep.

Miscellaneous occupations are concerned with the transportation of people and cargo from one geographical location to another by various methods; packaging of materials and moving of materials in and around establishments; extraction of minerals from the earth; production and distribution of utilities; modeling for painters, sculptors, and photographers; providing various production services in motion pictures and radio and television broadcasting; production of graphic art work; and other miscellaneous activities. Occupations included are truck driver, barge captain automobile service-station attendant, packager, hoist operator, stevedore jackhammer operator, miner, motion-picture projectionist, sign painter photoengraver, bookbinder, and print-shop helper.

Widely Used System

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles is not only the most widely used classification system but also the most comprehensive. It includes s nine-digit coding system consisting of three separate parts, detailed definitions of occupations based on extensive on-site job analyses, definitions of special terms used in the occupational definitions, an alphabetical index of occupational titles, and a grouping of occupations according to the industrial designation system used within the DOT.

Each of the major categories, listed and described above, is identified by a single digit except for the first one-professional, technical, managerial occupations--which is assigned both 0 and 1. These nine broad categories are divided into 82 divisions that are further subdivided into 559 groups. In addition to this system of differentiation within the first three digits of the code, each occupation is described numerically by the second group of three digits according to the occupation's involvement with data, people, and things. Finally, the last three digits in each DOT code number provide a specific identifier for each occupation sharing the same first six digits.

The second group of three digits is the worker functions ratings and describes numerically the degree of involvement the occupation has with data, people, and things. This part of the DOT code is based on the assumption that every occupation involves some degree of relationship to each of these three functions. This degree of relationship is then expressed by one of the digits. Prediger (1981), who has long worked with the American College Test World of Work Map, argues very convincingly that the data function should be divided into data and ideas. In the fourth edition, worker functions are reflected as follows:

The more complex involvements carry lower numbers and are also assumed to include the capacity to perform the less complex levels. The worker functions code tells us what the worker with a given occupational designation code does in dealing with data, people, and things. A psychiatrist has a DOT code number of 070.107-014. The worker functions code tells us that a psychiatrist coordinates data, mentors people, and works with things, the last at the lowest level of significance. Although each also carries the same worker functions code of 107, the lawyer, school counselor, and speech pathologist work with different kinds of data at the coordinating level, with people in differing ways at the mentoring level, and with very little involvement with things. On the other hand, a bakery worker's code number of 929.686-101 shows that a bakery worker compares data, takes instructions or helps, and brings material to a machine or equipment or takes it away.

By examining the worker functions codes, one can see occupations in vastly different fields that require comparable levels of functioning with data, people and things.

As demonstrated above, many classification systems have been developed by various governmental agencies to meet the needs of that agency or its constituency. In recent years, an effort has been made to develop a system that would satisfy the needs of those diverse agencies and also maximize the comparison and analysis of data available from various sources. This effort led to the development of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) in 1977. The classification plan was revised in 1980 so that it could be used in the publication of the 1980 Decennial Census. Subsequently, it has been used in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) and other publications. One can expect increased use of this system in occupational data information and reports obtained from governmental offices. With widespread governmental usage, it is likely that the system will gain general application elsewhere.

The Standard Occupational Classification is designed to cover all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit. It uses a four-level system consisting of divisions, major groups, minor groups, and unit groups. Each level provides increasingly greater specification.

The twenty-two divisions included in the 1980 revision of the SOC are the following:

Executive, Administrative and Managerial Occupations

Engineers, Surveyors and Architects

Natural Scientists and Mathematicians

Social Scientists, Social Workers, Religious Workers, and Lawyers

Teachers, Librarians, and Counselors

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners

Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Dietitians, Therapists, and Physician's Assistants

Writers, Artists, Entertainers, and Athletes

Health Technologists and Technicians

Technologists and Technicians, Except Health

Marketing and Sales Occupations

Administrative Support Occupations, including Clerical Service Occupations

Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishing Occupations

Mechanics and Repairers

Construction and Extractive Occupations

Precision Production Occupations

Production Working Occupations

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations

Each of the divisions is subdivided into more specific categories with major groups identified with two-digit code numbers, minor groups with three-digit numbers, and unit groups with four-digit numbers.

Each Dictionary of Occupational Titles, fourth edition, base title is included in the SOC and each title is assigned to only one unit group. DOT code numbers are listed in the SOC as a nine-digit number without the decimal and dash used in the DOT. Master titles, terms, titles, and Roman numerals for occupations with the same name and DOT industrial designation are used in the same manner as in the DOT

The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor has published the Guide for Occupational Exploration (GOE), a companion volume to be used with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. It includes an occupational grouping system based on extensive research with various well-known interest inventories. A second edition, edited by Harrington and O'Shea (1984) is published by the National Forum Foundation and distributed by American Guidance Service.

GOE Grouping

The GOE grouping is based on twelve interest factors or very broad occupational clusters. Each of these is divided into variable numbers of work groups consisting of closely related activities. The work groups also are divided further into subgroups that include actual DOT codes clustered by industry.

The GOE interest factors, briefly defined are as follows:
  1. Artistic-Interest in creative expression of feelings or ideas.

  2. Scientific-Interest in discovering, collecting, and analyzing information about the natural world and in applying scientific research findings to problems in medicine, life sciences, and natural sciences.

  3. Plants and Animals-Interest in activities involving plants and animals, usually in an outdoor setting.

  4. Protective-Interest in the use of authority to protect people and property.

  5. Mechanical-Interest in applying mechanical principles to practical situations, using machines, hand tools, or techniques.

  6. Industrial-Interest in repetitive, concrete, organized activities in a factory setting.

  7. Business Detail-Interest in organized, clearly defined activities requiring accuracy and attention to detail, primarily in an office setting.

  8. Selling-Interest in bringing others to a point of view through personal persuasion, using sales and promotion techniques.

  9. Accommodating-Interest in catering to the wishes of others, usually on a one-to-one basis.

  10. Humanitarian-Interest in helping others with their mental, spiritual, social, physical, or vocational needs.

  11. Leading-Influencing-Interest in leading and influencing others through activities involving high-level verbal or numerical abilities.

  12. Physical Performing-Interest in physical activities performed before an audience.
The twelve interest areas are divided into sixty-six work groups that are further subdivided into 348 subgroups. The coding system uses a six-digit arrangement, with the first two digits representing interest area, the first four digits identifying the work group, and all six digits designating the subgroup. Each subgroup lists actual DOT occupational titles and code numbers so that DOT information can be used when specific occupations are being considered.

The second edition also supplies the reader with information that relates school subjects, work values, and military occupational specialties t the various work areas. Checklists are also provided to assist a reader in identifying personal characteristics that can be related to corresponding work groups, such as interest areas, leisure activities, home activities, school subjects, and military specialties. Both editions are available. The first edition can be obtained from the Government Printing Office and the second edition from American Guidance Service.

The GOE has great potential value for the career counselor because it foundation of interest areas provides a most useful device for helping client translate assessment of their interests into relevant occupational fields. Further, information in each work-group description about skills and abilities required and preparation programs also provides a base for relating the client's evaluation of aptitudes or general educational plans to appropriating occupational groups at the work-group level. Those work groups that appear to be related to client interests, aptitudes, or educational plan can be explored further at the subgroup level where the client is referred to specific DOT code numbers.

The United States Office of Education developed an occupational cluster system in the early 1970s, as public attention began to focus on career education. Because of widespread interest in career education, many publishers of printed and other media career information prepared material based on this grouping for sale to schools and other organizations. Each cluster includes occupations that have some obvious relationship, often based on an industrial, site-oriented, or activity focus. Most clusters include occupations that vary widely in amount of education or training required status, rewards, and similar factors. The fifteen clusters that are included in the system are:
  1. Consumer and homemaking occupations

  2. Health occupations

  3. Public service occupations

  4. Construction occupations

  5. Personal service occupations

  6. Transportation occupations

  7. Fine arts and humanities occupations

  8. Manufacturing occupations

  9. Marketing and distribution occupations

  10. Agribusiness and natural resources occupations

  11. Environmental occupations

  12. Marine science occupations

  13. Communications and media occupations

  14. Business and office occupations

  15. Hospitality and recreation occupations

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