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Standard Industrial Classification

The UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) was first introduced into the United Kingdom in 1948 for use in classifying business establishments and other statistical units by the type of economic activity in which they are engaged. The classification provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data and its use promotes uniformity across business and economic statistics.

Please find below information on the introduction of Standard Industrial Classification 2007.

This information is also available in PDF format.

Introduction of Standard Industrial Classification 2007

The introduction of SIC 2007 represents the first major revision of the Standard Industrial Classification system since 1992. These revisions are motivated by the need to adapt the classifications to changes in the world economy. The revised classifications reflect the growing importance of service activities in the economies over the last fifteen years, mainly due to the developments in information and communications technologies (ICT).

The SIC is a hierarchical five digit system. SIC 2007 is divided into 21 sections, each denoted by a single letter from A to U. The letters of the sections can be uniquely defined by the next breakdown, the divisions (denoted by two digits). The divisions are then broken down into groups (3 digits), then into classes (4 digits) and, in several cases, again into subclasses (5 digits). So for example we have:

Section C - Manufacturing (comprising divisions 10 to 33)

Division 13 - Manufacture of textiles

Group 13.9 - Manufacture of other textiles

Class 13.93 - Manufacture of carpets and rugs

Subclass 13.93/1 - Manufacture of woven or tufted carpets and rugs

Full details of the SIC 2007 structure are available at the following web address: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/standard-industrial-classification/sic2007---explanatory-notes.pdf

The introduction of SIC 2007 is a fundamental change to the existing classification system and the areas which have been affected most include 'Business Activities', 'Retail Sale of Automotive Fuel', 'Recycling', and 'Manufacturing'. There are a number of new categories, the majority of which relate to service activities: for example, there are almost three times as many divisions for 'Real estate, professional and administrative' service activities under SIC 2007 as under SIC 2003. Also, the expansion of ICT activities is well reflected in the new Section J (Information and Communication), which includes publishing, film and broadcasting activities and news agencies, in addition to telecommunication and computer related activities.

The SIC 2007 changes came into effect on the 1st January 2008 with all units on the Office for National Statistics' business register dual coded to SIC 2003 and SIC 2007. The table below outlines when the main Scottish Government outputs will be published using SIC 2007:

Table 1: SIC 2007 Implementation Timetable for Scottish Government Outputs


Estimated Year of Implementation

Labour Force Survey


Scottish Corporate Sector Statistics


Scottish Annual Business Statistics




Input Output Tables


Global Connections Survey


The Scottish Corporate Sector Statistics 2009 publication included a note on the impact of the classification change on the enterprise count, employment and turnover from the Inter-Departmental Business Register. This note is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/Corporate/sic2007note

For more information on the implementation of SIC 2007 within the Scottish Government please email industrystatistics@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.