apple The NOC Matrix

Essential Skills profiles were developed using the National Occupational Classification (NOC) matrix ( Understanding the matrix will help you identify relevant occupations when searching the ES profiles, where occupations are listed according to their NOC four-digit code. The NOC code categorizes occupations according to skill type, skill level, and major and minor groups, and gives an overall description of what the jobs in an occupational grouping entail.

Within the NOC matrix, there are nine skill type categories, ranging from business and finance to manufacturing, and four skill levels, identified as Skill Level A through D. Management occupations, including legislators and senior management, exist within their own group (Major Group 00), and are not assigned to a skill level category, as factors other than education and training are often key determinants for employment. It is likely literacy practitioners will deal with occupations that fall within the C and D skill range, which currently includes nine major and 45 minor groups.

Community Literacy of Ontario discovered it is worthwhile taking the time to explore the NOC site ( ). Access the Index of Titles link to search for jobs that may appeal to learners in your program. For example, if you were to type grocery into the keyword search box, NOC 6622, the occupational code for Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers, would appear. Follow that link to reveal a brief description of the occupation, as well as example titles, main duties, and employment requirements. The NOC Training Tutorial is most helpful and can be found at (

Practitioners and learners can also access the NOC website by following the National Occupational Classification link on the Essential Skills Profiles main page to perform searches and gather information about the types of duties within a particular occupational group. For example, NOC 7452, Material Handlers, lists the following samples of main duties:

  • Load, unload, and move products and materials by hand or using basic material handling equipment.
  • Move household appliances and furniture onto and off moving trucks or vans.
  • Set up rooms for events, dismantle moveable walls and partitions, and organize or set up office furniture.
  • Perform other material handling activities such as counting, weighing, sorting, packing, and unpacking.

To learn how to decode the four-digit NOC codes, follow the Matrix link on the NOC website. The decoding formula is as follows:

  • The first digit represents the skill type or type of work performed
  • The second digit represents the skill level (A, B, C, D)
  • The first two digits combined represent the major group
  • The first three digits combined represent the minor group
  • The final digit is added to identify the specific job within the minor group

Using NOC 6661 Light Duty Cleaner as an example:

  • (6)661 represents Sales and Service occupations
  • 6(6)61 represents skill level D or occupations where on-the-job training is usually provided.
  • (66)61 represents the major group, Elemental Sales and Service Occupations
  • (666)1 represents the minor group, Cleaners
  • 6661 is the precise code for Light Duty Cleaners

Being familiar with the major and minor occupational groups is particularly helpful when searching the ES Profiles (on the Essential Skills website) by NOC code. Not all the occupations identified on the ES site have precise, 4-digit codes.

Students who are interested in entry level positions in any of the occupational groups, could use the matrix to locate the job type they prefer (e.g. “3” for health occupations) and the compatible skill level (skill level C is represented by “4”). For a more concise search, one needs only to enter “34” (representing major group 34, Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services) into the search box. This type of focused search provides fewer results making the process easier.

Questions and Activities for Reflection

  • Would you consider exploring the NOC site to collect information on entry level jobs learners in your program might be interested in?
  • What other ways could you use the NOC site in your agency?
  • If you have learners who are NOT employment-focused, how do you think you could use the NOC site to support their individual learning?
  • Compare the ES profiles content to the NOC listings content. In what ways are they the same and/or different? Think of the different ways each would serve the needs of adult learners.
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