Description of sections


The Career Handbook, the counselling component of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, was first published in 1996 as a companion document to the 1993 edition of the NOC.

In the ensuing decade, research was undertaken to update and revise the classification for the 2001 Census. During this time, Canada witnessed an evolution of the labour market that brought many changes to the nature of work. These new developments have been integrated into NOC 2001 to ensure its currency and relevancy for Canadians. The most significant changes are found in the area of information technology, which enabled the advent of globalized communications systems such as the Internet, wireless communications and the capabilities of electronic commerce and publishing. The impacts of these global developments are evident in the labour market in many ways. Some examples include new job titles, different ways of working, the use of equipment and software for innovative purposes and the emergence of new kinds of products and services. The changes to the NOC during the 2001 revision have been incorporated into the second edition of the Career Handbook.

The third edition of the Career Handbook is based on the structure of NOC 2011 and incorporates the changes that occurred in NOC during the 2016 revision, to ensure that a cohesive system continues to assist those working with clients in understanding the occupations of the Canadian economy. To better understand the developments in the labour market and the resulting changes made to the classification, it is suggested that users consult the Concordance Tables of the NOC 2011 and the Introduction to Edition 2016 of the NOC. The revisions represent considerable improvements to the organizational framework of the classification and impact positively on data collection and statistical interpretation of trends in the economy. These modifications are present at the unit group, or four-digit code, level of the NOC where occupational data is collected for statistical purposes.

Based on the revision to the classification structure in 2011, the 923 groups presented in the second edition of the Career Handbook have now increased to a total of 939 groups. Consistent with the previous edition, these groups are derived from the NOC unit group descriptions. The occupational profiles for counsellor use and interpretation are presented at either the four-digit unit group or five-digit subgroup level.

Modifications to the classification and Career Handbook provide an update to this counselling resource, to the extent possible when describing a dynamic phenomenon such as the labour market.

While the general description of each occupational group has been updated, the same Descriptor Scales and Levels for aptitudes, interests, data/people/things, physical activities and environmental conditions have been preserved. The original meanings of all the factors and levels have been retained.

The Introduction to the third edition of the Career Handbook is virtually unchanged from the original with the exception of minor changes for compatibility with NOC 2011 and 2016. Users are encouraged to read both the Introduction and the Descriptor Definitions sections to reacquaint themselves with the underlying principles supporting the counselling profiles and to note how some definitions have been refined.

It was considered appropriate to provide a high degree of consistency between the second and the third edition to minimize the difficulty in understanding and dealing with those changes necessitated by the evolution of the labour market itself. The revised edition of the Career Handbook offers counsellors and other professionals a solid and familiar resource for developing an understanding of the overall labour market and a detailed conceptualization of the work performed in occupations throughout the economy. With this understanding, they will be able to provide clients with the necessary information to help them make appropriate decisions and take positive action in their career exploration and development.

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