Occupation can be defined as any economic or productive activities which people engage in to create and procure goods and services in order to make a living. Today, people engage in various activities to earn a living and to satisfy their numerous wants.

Human beings have unlimited wants, while the resources meant for the satisfaction of these wants are limited. In order to satisfy these numerous wants, people engage in one occupation or another, at least to meet up with the three basic needs of man which are food, shelter and clothing in addition to other needs that make life more comfortable.

These are various kinds of occupations that a person can do to earn a decent living. Some occupations involve extracting resources from the soil and water e.g. farming, fishing, mining or changing the form of raw materials to finished or semi-finished goods e.g. manufacturing, etc while others provide services like police, doctors, sailors, pilots, teaching, drivering, etc.


Classification of Occupation

Businesses are classified according to the nature of the work involved (Fig. 3.1). Therefore, occupation can be classified into three main groups, namely:

  1. Industry.
  2. Commerce.
  3. Services.




  1. Climatic and Weather Differences: The climatic and weather condition of a place determine the nature of occupation available in a particular area, e.g. fishermen will be many in riverine areas.
  2. Natural Resources: Availability of natural resources does affect the choice of occupation of a people. Miners for instance will be many in areas where there are mineral resources.
  3. Education and Skill: Education and skill can also affect the types of occupation, e.g. unskilled workers are many in extractive industries.
  4. Salary and Wages: The remuneration and conditions of service also affect occupation.
  5. Industrial Hazard: The risk and security involved in such employment also determine people’s involvement in an occupation.
  6. Policies: The policies of government as well as the age of the person seeking employment determine the type of occupation.
  7. Other Factors are: Interest, inclination and ability of the people.



Industry consists of the activities geared towards the production of goods through extraction, manufacturing and construction.

All the people who engaged in extraction, manufacturing and construction industry (i.e. industrial activities) are classified as industrial occupation.

An industrial occupation involves those who engage in the physical production of goods or changing of raw materials into finished or semi-finished products. In other words, industrial occupation refers to all those activities involving the extraction and processing of raw materials into finished or semi-finished goods. They also include the assembling and putting of components parts together to make or organised whole.


Examples of industrial occupation are

  1. Extraction.
  2. Manufacturing.
  3. Construction.


Examples of industrial workers are:

  1. Farmers.
  2. Carpenters.
  3. Fishermen.
  4. Miners.
  5. Manufacturers.
  6. Plumbers.
  7. Welders.


Industry is used to describe all activities concerned with the physical production of goods. These are people that engage in extracting raw materials from the sea or soil and changing them into finished components. They also assemble different components into useable forms.


Types of Industrial Occupation

1) Extractive Occupation: The extractive industries are those who engage in obtaining raw materials and natural resources from the soil or sea. The extractive occupation is concerned with making available raw materials and natural products from the land or sea. Examples of products of extractive occupation are cocoa, cotton, iron ore, crude oil, etc. It is referred to as the primary stage of production.

Examples of extractive occupation are

  • Farming.
  • Quarrying.
  • Fishing.
  • Forestry or lumbering.
  • Mining.
  • Hunting.


2) Manufacturing Occupation: Manufacturing occupation is concerned with the activities of those who engage in processing and turning raw materials produced in the primary industry into finished products. The raw materials or natural resources are transformed into finished products after going through different processes to add value and utility. They engaged in utilizing or using the raw materials to produce finished goods.

Examples of manufacturing occupation are:

  • Shoe making.
  • Textile processing.
  • Food processing.
  • Rubber processing.
  • Plastic processing.


3) Constructive Occupation: Constructive occupation is concerned with all the activities of those who engage in assembling of goods manufactured into useable form. They convert manufactured products into various uses. They engage in constructing roads, bridges, houses, etc. All the various components extracted and manufactured are converted into useable form.

Examples of constructive occupation are:

  • Road construction.
  • Building construction.
  • Airport construction.
  • Bridge construction.
  • Goldsmith.
  • Furniture construction.



Commerce can simply be defined as all those activities involved in the distribution and exchange of goods and services. Commerce deals with the various activities which enables the produced goods to reach the final consumers.


Commercial occupation

This refers to all the people involved in the distribution and exchange of goods produced by the industrial sector.


Examples of commercial workers are:

  1. Bankers.
  2. Advertisers.
  3. Transporters.
  4. Importers.
  5. Traders.
  6. Exporters.
  7. Insurers.
  8. Post masters.

Commerce is the process of buying, selling and distribution of goods and services. It includes all occupations that are concerned with trade and other activities that will ensure effective and efficient distribution of goods and services. These services are referred to as auxiliaries to trade and they are: transportation, banking, insurance, tourism and advertising. Those who belong to this category help to distribute goods and materials produced by the industries.

Types of Commercial Occupation

Activities of those who engaged in commercial occupation are:

  1. Trading: Trading is concerned with the activities of all the people who engage in the act of buying and selling of goods and services. When trading activities occur within a country, wholesalers and retailers are engaged while foreign trade involves import and export.
  2. Insurance: Insurance is concerned with the activities of people who undertake to protect individuals or businesses against risk in their daytoday operation. These people are insurance brokers, underwriters and agents.
  3. Banking: Banking as a commercial occupation includes people who assist others to have money for their daily needs. They also provide capital for those embarking on industrial activities and saving facilities, e.g. bankers in commercial and merchant banks.
  4. Advertising: Advertising involves the business of providing information about the existence of a product to the potential buyers. Advertising creates awareness for the products, e.g. advertising agents.
  5. Transportation: Transportation is concerned with the movement of goods and services to where they are needed. This is concerned with all the activities that ensure effective transportation system. Those who engage in this services are drivers, pilots, sailors, etc.
  6. Warehousing: The people involved are warehouse managers, clerks etc. They are concerned with ensuring that goods produced are stored until they are needed for consumption. This will bring about steady supply of goods.
  7. Tourism: Tourism is concerned with all the activities of those who engage in creating tourist attractions in different tourist centres, e.g. guides in national park.
  8. Communication: Communication includes all activities which promote rapid transmission of messages between senders and receivers or from one place to another, e.g. courier service providers, telephone operators, etc.



Service occupations are sometimes classified as tertiary occupation. These are occupations that render services to the people. Services involve doing something for the consumers which could be personal or indirect services. The people pay for the services directly or indirectly.


Types of Service Occupation

1) Direct Service: Direct service includes personal services rendered for direct consumption and are paid for directly by those who enjoy the service. Those who engage in this form of occupation are

  • Housemaids.
  • Stewards.
  • Entertainers.
  • Family doctors.
  • Barbers.
  • Lawyers in private. practice, etc.

The services satisfy human wants, hence it is part of production. The service provider has a direct contact with the consumer.


2) Indirect Service: Indirect service includes services rendered to the general public but they are not paid for by the members of the public directly. The government will pay from taxes and levies paid by the public. Therefore, those involved render indirect services and are paid indirectly by the public, e.g.

  • Doctors working in public hospitals.
  • Police force.
  • Soldiers.
  • Customs officers.
  • Civil servants.
  • Law makers, etc.
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