Occupations: Meaning and Classification

Occupations refer to the various activities in which individuals engage to earn a livelihood. These activities play a significant role in shaping economies, societies, and individuals' lives.


In this post, we shall look into the meaning and classification of occupations. At the end of this lesson, students are expected to be able:

  • define occupations; and
  • explain the classification of occupations.

Meaning of Occupations

Occupations refer to the various activities in which individuals engage to earn a livelihood. These activities play a significant role in shaping economies, societies, and individuals’ lives.


Occupations can be classified into different groups based on their nature and purpose.

Classification of Occupations

Occupations can be classified into six classes. They are extractive, manufacturing, constructive, commercial occupations respectively, and direct and indirect services.

Extractive Occupations

This group includes activities aimed at extracting natural resources from the soil and sea.

Workers in this occupation harvest raw materials like farming, fishing, mining, hunting, etc.

Manufacturing Occupations

Workers in manufacturing occupations transform raw materials obtained from extractive industries into finished products.

They involve in processes like assembling, processing, and producing goods.

Image Credit: Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash.

Constructive Occupations

Workers in this group assemble and organize different components produced by both extractive and manufacturing industries into organized structures or systems.

Commercial Occupations

This group encompasses activities that involve coordinating efforts to make goods and services available to those who need them.

Examples include insurance, transport, advertising, and other intermediary services.

Direct Services

These occupations involve providing personal services that bring satisfaction, amusement, enjoyment, or meet specific needs of others.

Examples include actors, singers, dancers, cooks, drivers, barbers, etc.

Indirect Services

Occupations in this category focus on providing services to the public in various capacities.

Examples include police, armed forces, teachers, civil servants, etc.

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Factors that Influence Occupations

  1. Family Background: Family background and upbringing may play a role in occupational choices.
  2. Level of Training: Specific skills and training may be required for certain occupations.
  3. Sex: Societal norms and perceptions may influence the types of occupations available to individuals based on their gender.
  4. Remuneration: The potential for income and benefits can influence occupational choices.
  5. Life Ambition: Personal goals and aspirations can shape career choices.
  6. Level of Education: The level of education attained can influence the type of occupations individuals pursue.
  7. One’s Interest: Personal interests and passions can influence career paths.
  8. Peer Group: Influence from peers and social circles can impact career decisions.
  9. Country’s Level of Development: Economic and technological development may influence the range of available occupations.
  10. Government Policy: Government policies and regulations can impact job availability and requirements.
  11. Environmental Factors: The local environment and geographical location may affect available job opportunities.
  12. Talent: Natural abilities and skills may direct individuals towards specific occupations.


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