Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy

Global in scope. Derived from real-world postings and profiles.

Our proprietary classification system is composed of 1,900+ Specialized Occupations divided into distinct 4 levels giving you the granularity you require.

young woman in server room

Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy

The LOT is how we organize occupations—and, like Open Skills, it comes from what we see in real-world postings and profiles.

The LOT uses a proprietary classification system of four different levels: career areas, occupation groups, occupations, and specialized occupations.

    Career areas generally adhere to different industries. They provide an understanding of the defining skills that are necessary to enter any career within its scope.

    Occupation groups are subsectors of career areas. They identify different functions of roles within a given career area.

    Occupations are roles within an occupation group that point towards distinct goals within that group, usually demanding a well-defined skill set. These roles tend to align with national and government taxonomies, or individuals seeking to enter a workforce for the first time.

    Specialized occupations are clusters of job titles and skills that define recognizable roles in the labor market. They are useful for analyzing specific skill requirements within a role, aligning with the needs of individuals seeking to advance their career.

As we move up in the hierarchy, subsections are exclusive to their associated category. In other words, each specialized occupation is unique to its occupation, each occupation is unique to its occupation group, and each occupation group is unique to its career area. This prevents duplicate or overlapping data when analyzing more than one occupation.

The precision level of the LOT is intentionally designed to be both informative and accurate. It delves deeper into specifics compared to government systems like O*NET and SOC, without delving excessively into the intricacies of individual job titles. The LOT undergoes annual updates, striking a balance between stability and usefulness for longitudinal comparisons, while also promptly capturing newly emerging roles as they formalize within the economy.

Key benefits:


The Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy provides significantly more granularity than federal or national taxonomies, while maintaining a level of aggregation that allows robust analysis. Users can create meaningful career ladders using Specialized Occupations, showing the skills and credentials required for each.


The Specialized Occupations identify roles that are the same, across employers and geographies, regardless of job title. Job titles can cross occupations (as employers cast a wide net while advertising positions) so the Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy serves to close this language gap.


With a single taxonomy applied globally to postings, profiles, and in relationship with Governmental Labor Market data, you can make truly global comparisons to understand the changing nature of the labor market without relying on a “lowest common denominator” from local taxonomies. 


The Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy is updated annually — infrequent enough to make it stable and useful for comparisons over time, but frequent enough to capture new, emerging roles as they formalize in the economy.

Levels Upon Levels

Explore the Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy via the widget below to see how its four levels are connected.

Career Areas