OFO Codes

Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) is a skills-based coded classification system that captures all jobs in the form of occupations and provides a framework for the identification, reporting and monitoring of skills demand and supply in the South African labour market.


It is the Department of Higher Education and Training‘s (DHET) key tool for identifying, reporting and monitoring skills demand and supply in the South African labour market. Since the formalisation of the OFO in August 2005, the detailed OFO-based Scarce, Critical and PIVOTAL Skills reporting format has enabled the identification and annual publication by the DHET of a national Scarce Skills list. This indicates high levels of scarcity of skills in occupations due to high demand in other sectors.

Employers may request the addition, deletion or movement of an OFO code on the code list. Final approval is granted by DHET and should the request be approved the change will be effected in the next version of the OFO list.

To date, SETA scarce and critical research has identified a number of common drivers and strategies to address scarcity.
These include:
• Drivers: Equity considerations, movement out of the sector, retirement;
• Indicators: High vacancy rates, high replacement rates;
• Strategies: Bursaries, learnerships, apprenticeships, skills programmes, Institute of Sectoral Excellence (ISOE) and Technical, Vocational and Training (TVET) College engagement.

The OFO is constructed from the bottom-up by:
• Analysing jobs and identifying similarities in terms of a Tasks and Skills;
• Categorising similar Jobs into Occupations; and
• Classifying Occupations into Occupational Groups at increasing levels of generality.
SETAs are required to use the OFO in the submission of occupational data to DHET and it is for this reason that the OFO is included in the SETA grant application submissions.
At a national level, the SETA Sector Skills Plans (SSP) are submitted to DHET to allow for national planning purposes.

From an employer perspective, the OFO offers value in that employers can use this information to broaden the indicators and drivers of Scarce Skills that they take into account when developing the annual Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs).