Occupation vs. Position

Occupation vs position

Imagine a situation wherein you are filling up an application or any form. Do you often get perplexed between occupation and position? Well, you are among the many out there! Once understood right from the basics, these two terms are easily distinguishable and not at all tedious to understand. While comprehending, you would be astonished how distinct, yet these two terms could be misunderstood so easily. The major difference between Occupation and Position is that position suggests the name of the specific post, level, or role held by you for a specific interval of time. In contrast, Occupation stretches wider and indicates an entire sector of jobs under which various positions are distributed. A job position is often referred to as a single or set of responsibilities given to an employee for a particular time span. It suggests the context of work and portrays what work a job consists of. On the other hand, occupation is the superset of job position. In easy words, Occupation is the work for which an employee is paid.

Basic comparison points 

The following table will create a clear picture of occupation and position used in discrete contexts:

Context/points of comparison Position Occupation
DefinitionThe position is defined as a particular role or designation one holds. Occupation refers to an entire sector of jobs.  
SpecificityThe position gives in-depth information on what work one does at the respective workplace.Occupation helps us understand the area or field to which one belongs and works regularly.  
Concept The position is a subset  of occupation and a  narrower concept Occupation is a super-set of position and a broader concept. 
Multiplicity of meaningThe position symbolizes various meanings, like what a job is all about or designation. Occupation gives a broader or general idea of work.
HierarchyThe position gives an idea of hierarchy the workplace consists ofOccupation doesn’t help to signify the hierarchical position of a person.
ExamplesVarious positions at a job are the designations like Manager, Professor, Chief editor, etc. Various Occupations are fields or sectors of work such as medicine, engineering, etc.

Understanding What is a Position 

When someone says that they work as a general manager, Team Lead, Programmer, etc., it denotes a specific designation the person holds. It denotes that the person is committed to a specific work for a specific time. The work assigned or the position awarded to a person is based on their qualifications. Hence position reflects the responsibilities of the level of the job. The employee earns a living in return for the work they do. Earning slab too depends on what type of position they hold and the employee’s working hours. Even these terms are interestingly interdependent. Money is paid depending on the working hours of an employee. For example, an intern or half-time worker who works for a lesser time would receive less pay than a full-time employee. Working hours mainly stretch from zero to nine hours, and extra money may be paid for overtime. 

Mainly a position describes what kind of job and what type of responsibilities you are paid for. Thus,

  • Titles or positions like executive, supervisor, manager, director, chief, etc. usually denote management positions.
  • Positions like accountant, guest services coordinator, chef, housekeeper, programmer, mechanic, etc. denote the kind of job you are doing or what you do at your job 
  • Positions like head chef, marketing manager, general manager, electrical superintendent, etc. not only denote the responsibility but also the level of the job. 

To acquire a position, a specific skill or specialized study or both are required. The promotion holds an important significance in the position of an employee. Depending on their work, a person gets promoted to a higher rank or position where he acquires more responsibilities and earns more. 

The following are the types of jobs :

  • Full-time job
  • Part-time job
  • Seasonal job
  • Temporary job
  • Odd jobs
  • Self-employment

Understanding what is an Occupation 

 Midst of an interview, the interviewer asks you a question, “ What made you choose this field?”, he wants to know why this is your area of interest. From this example, you would have got a clear picture of what occupation suggests. It points to the entire sector, which consists of various job titles. It denotes the category of jobs and what sector you fit in. It gives an overview of work but does not give detailed information on designation and responsibilities. Hence occupation gives a broader picture of various sectors or fields. Hence if you want to be a lecturer, the lecturer is a designation or job position, whereas teaching is the occupation. 

The following are the examples of occupations :

  • Business owner
  • Finance
  • Teaching
  • Health care provider
  • Customer service
  • Retail
  • Education
  • Hospitality

Key Differences 

  • A position is the level of job or designation, whereas occupation explains the entire sector of jobs which consists of job titles.
  • The position depicts the rank of the job as well as the duties of the job whereas occupation gives a wider view of work.
  • The position or designation of a person gives a complete idea of what he gets paid for, on the contrary, an occupation describes an area of interest, sector, or industry where you would like to work.
  • An example of a position is a Chief medical officer, while his/her occupation is a health care provider.


Position and occupation are two distinct words you must use wisely in a correct context. For example, when you refer to an area of interest or sector, it denotes an occupation. Still, when you talk about a specific level, ranking, or designation in the sector or industry, you are alluding to a position. Hence this article gave you a walkthrough of using occupation and position in the correct situation, hopefully saving your handful of blunders and confusion!

Frequently Asked Questions 

1 ) Can my occupation be the same as a position in a company?

Ans. No. Your occupation can never be the same as a position in a company because a position is a title you hold in an occupation. Occupation is a broader term denoting the sector in which the company falls. 

2) While searching for a Job, should I search for an occupation or position?

Ans. For searching for a job, you should always prefer going with the name of occupation because it gives a huge collection of job positions belonging to large fields or sectors. Hence you should search for occupation and narrow it down to the title according to your fit.

Occupation vs. Position

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