What Is An Occupation?
Why do we get jobs and pursue our individual career paths? Is it simply to earn our livelihood and enhance…
June 10, 2021 | 7 mins read
Why do we get jobs and pursue our individual career paths? Is it simply to earn our livelihood and enhance personal and professional development? Every individual has a role to play in society; a way they can contribute and make a difference. In addition to keeping ourselves busy, disciplined and self-dependent, an occupation contributes to socio-economic growth and development, thereby making a difference in society.
Read on to see what is meant by occupation, its types and various examples. Additionally, let’s explore how the meaning and scope of occupation have changed over time and various ways to stay on top of such changes.
To understand what is meant by occupation, we need to go back to basics and explore where the term comes from. The dictionary defines occupation as an activity that occupies a person’s attention. In professional settings, it refers to someone’s work situation or their role within an organization.
It can be said that the word occupation is an umbrella term, used to define someone’s role or industry or work where they can display skills that benefit that field. If a person is looking for a job within a specific occupation, they are likely to build a career in that occupation. If an occupation requires certification and licensing, people can pursue it as a profession.
In a nutshell, our occupation is a pillar of our role in and contribution to society. Here are some examples of occupation:
Different types of occupation are usually defined in general terms and not in specific job titles. For example, we say consultant and not Senior Consultant, when describing our occupation to someone.
The various types of occupation fall under different categories and each category consists of different types of job titles and professions. Here are some examples of common occupation categories and related jobs:
Therefore, occupations group different kinds of jobs that share similar characteristics.
The examples of occupation can be broadly classified into three different types. Let’s understand each of them in detail:
People often confuse the term ‘occupation’ with ‘profession’. As we’ve already established, occupation is a person’s role in society and it can be a job, business, employment or profession. On the other hand, a profession is a type of occupation that requires expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular field. Examples of professions include lawyers, doctors, engineers and professors.
There are various characteristics of a profession, including:
Every profession requires intensive training as this type of knowledge can’t be inherited. People need to acquire the necessary learning and skills to flourish in their fields. Often, an academic program sets the tone for someone’s professional journey. For example, those pursuing Media Studies often end up in journalism.
The main motive of every profession is to provide service. Whether it’s doctors, lawyers or engineers, everyone works with the intention of providing service and getting paid for their labor.
Each professional body such as an institute or organization has a code of conduct that every professional must follow. This ensures that there are proper checks and balances in place that help professionals maintain uniformity in their work culture and behavior. The standardization helps to hold professionals accountable.
Employment is a type of occupation where people get wages or salaries in exchange for their work. Let’s look at the defining characteristics of employment:
An employee gets their wage or salary at regular intervals. The remuneration payable is fixed and paid on a daily or monthly basis. Increments, dearness allowance and other types of allowances are also payable.
People engaged in employment don’t have as much autonomy as independent professionals. Employees aren’t always free to decide the work that’s to be done. They have to follow the instructions of the employer or the upper management.
There are certain terms and conditions that employers provide at the time of onboarding employees. These are organizational policies that everyone must abide by. They include the role and responsibilities, amount of remuneration and hours of work. The individuals seeking a job must agree to the terms and conditions before joining the organization.
A business is a type of occupation where people or organizations produce, sell and exchange goods and services for money. When carried out on a regular basis, it leads to growth and profitability. Some examples of business activities include trading, manufacturing and banking.
The primary goal of all types of occupation is to engage in an activity, earn money and participate in economic growth.
People often use the terms occupation, job and career interchangeably. While all of these things are what people do for a living, there is a distinction in their meanings in a broader sense. We’ve already highlighted the defining characteristics of an occupation. Let’s explore the meanings of a job and career in detail.
At its simplest, a job is work an individual does for a living. An employer defines the job role and an individual or employee undertakes all related tasks and responsibilities. Employees need to abide by certain terms and conditions determined by the organization. Additionally, they need to work toward achieving goals and objectives set by their employers or leaders.
A job can be temporary or permanent, full-time or part-time or even freelance. No matter what type of job it is, employers and employees agree on the number of hours, types of responsibilities and remuneration in advance. Moreover, an individual can have more than one job at a time. For example, freelancers often undertake multiple projects from various organizations.
A career is a lifelong journey in which an individual might undertake a series of roles or employment opportunities. They develop knowledge and skills and gain experience in a particular industry to earn a livelihood. A career includes education, specialization and training, and work experience. It’s long-term and it encompasses various benefits such as building connections, learning and using the knowledge for promotions and appraisals.
Individuals may play either various roles in one field or industry, or start their career in one domain and move on to other, more complex domains with increased experience and expertise. In other words, people can change their career paths and can grow in any role that they want, as long as it aligns with their overall professional objectives. For example, someone who starts out as an engineer may become the managing director of an engineering firm.
It’s no secret that the nature and scope of occupations in India have been changing. Evidence also suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on labor markets. With rapid digitization, business models have been undergoing monumental changes. Remote work has become the new normal and it is here to stay.
With increasing automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and gig work (contractual or short-term work), people will need to find work in occupations that require complex skills. Upskilling, reskilling and employee training and development programs will act as catalysts that’ll enable this change. At the same time, demand for workers in occupations such as healthcare, teaching and social work will continue to accelerate and the workforce needs to prepare themselves to find work in these types of occupation.
While this wave of change may push decision-makers and organizations to hire a new generation of employees, it may not be the wisest decision for the business. organizations should think about upskilling (teaching employees new skills) and reskilling (training employees to do a different job) more seriously. The biggest advantage is that existing employees already have sufficient knowledge about the organization’s mission, vision, values and objectives.
To meet the increasing demands of the industry, you and your organization need to keep pace. Establish yourself as a forward-thinking organization by prioritizing learning and development programs for your employees. Harappa’s 10 on 10 Program is India’s most effective online learning program that’ll help your workforce raise the bar and achieve peak performance. The program helps you drive high-performance behaviors at scale as employees Activate, Cultivate and Elevate their true potential and performance. Get on board with Harappa and build a better world of work!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as What Is Organizational Agility, On-The-Job Training For Employee Learning And Development, Understanding RACI Matrix, Why Your Organization Needs A Performance Improvement Plan and How To Prepare For Off-The-Job Training that will help organizations tap into their employee's potential.