The O*NET/NOC Crosswalk, an update.

The O*NET/NOC Crosswalk, an update.

We developed two updated versions of our original crosswalk, which underpin our latest findings in the Digitalization in Canada project.
Viet Vu
Manager, Economic Research
November 30, 2022
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In 2019, we published the first publicly available crosswalk between the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) and the U.S. O*NET databases, providing a vital tool for many labour economics researchers in Canada to meaningfully understand skill attributes for occupations in Canada.

Since then, the crosswalk has been used widely in published academic papers in areas of study from economics to sociology. It was also used to inform COVID-19 public health policies, generating impact outcomes that exceeded our expectations.

 This work also inspired newer attempts at crosswalks, of particular note is the 2020 official concordance tables by Statistics Canada and the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC).

While this crosswalk was useful, we lost the ability to usefully compare the latest version of NOC to the latest version of O*NET when Canada released an updated NOC in 2021.

Today, we’re releasing two new sets of crosswalks that allows researchers to compare between any version of O*Net and NOC from 2001 onwards.

What is a crosswalk and why do we need it?

A crosswalk is a translation dictionary that allows people to convert one taxonomy to another. It allows for data and measurements that were created under one taxonomy to be meaningfully used compared to another.

In order for Canadian researchers and policymakers to get insights that inform good policy, a deep understanding of the skill content and occupational characteristics of Canadian occupations are vital. And while efforts exist to create this measure, we do not yet have ways to compare skills, and knowledge requirements across different occupations in a common language in the National Occupation Classification database.

The United States occupational framework however (the O*NET), has detailed occupational characteristics (such as data on skill and knowledge requirement), that is updated frequently. A crosswalk between the two allows deep insights about Canadian workers to be generated. This formed the basis of our work in 2019.

Key constraint of existing crosswalks

However, occupational structure is not static. In Canada, a new major version of the National Occupational Classification is released every decade. The commonly used occupational structure in crosswalks, the 2016 NOC, is the classification used between 2011-2021. Similarly, the US O*NET taxonomy is based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), which received 3 updates in the past decade, one in 2006, one in 2010, and one in 2018.

The existing crosswalk only allows for the 2016 NOC to be “crosswalked” to 2010 O*NET. This limits the longitudinal studies we can conduct for Canada, especially one that focuses on how occupational attributes have changed over time.

Two new sets of crosswalks for 2006 and 2021 NOCs

To solve this issue, we developed two new sets of crosswalks (with a combined total of three, including the one published in 2019) focused on providing a longer range of time where occupational attributes can be obtained for Canadian occupations. Specifically, we created a crosswalk for 2006 NOC (used between 2001 and 2011), crosswalked to version 10 of the 2006 SOC. We also developed another crosswalk for the 2021 NOC with version 25.1 and beyond that uses the 2018 SOC.

This is the crosswalk we used in our two most recent reports: Race Alongside the Machines, and Further & Further Away, which allowed us to analyze the structural digitalization of the Canadian economy from 2001 to 2021 (across the two reports).

As with the previous crosswalks, we recognize that we may not have gotten everything perfectly, and welcome any feedback you may have on these sets of crosswalks as you utilize them in your own research and work. Just as with the original crosswalk, we released this crosswalk on Github under an MIT license.

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For media enquiries, please contact Nina Rafeek Dow, Marketing + Communications Specialist at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Viet Vu
Manager, Economic Research
November 30, 2022
Print Page

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