Socio-economic status

Socio-economic status (SES) is a measure of an individual’s economic and social position. In the early 2000s the European Socio-Economic Classification (ESeC) was developed. The 2008 revision of the ISCO occupational coding challenged the ESeC classification, and Eurostat started an update initiative named the European Socio-Economic Groups (ESeG-2014). The ESeG-2014 classification is a two-level classification of nine groups and 42 subgroups, to ensure a quick and uncomplicated implementation in all statistical sources. Four variables are needed to measure ESeG-2014, notably the two core variables ISCO08 occupation and employment status (employee / self-employed), and two additional variables for people not in paid employment, notably status (retired / student / disabled) and age.

Surveycodings.org provides a list of survey questions designed to measure ESeG-2014 at a detailed two-digit level. These survey questions and answers have been translated in 47 languages, facilitating the measurement of the ESeG-2014 classification in 99 countries. With fewer survey questions the one-digit ESeG-2014 classification can be measured. We also provide the coding scheme and the syntax needed to convert the data from the survey questions into the ESeG-2014 classification. The survey questions and answers including their translations, can be found in the excel files at the bottom of this page.

Employment status

Employment status is a measure of an individual's position in the labour market. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) maintains the International Classification by Status in Employment (ICSE). In 1993 ICSE was defined as a classification with six categories. In 2013, ILO scheduled to revise the classification, but the meeting of statisticians postponed final decision making until 2018.

In 2017 we developed survey questions for the measurement of ICSE-93 and the proposed revisions, leading to a three-level classification. The first level consists of the initial six ICSE-93 groups (employees / employers / own-account workers / members of producers’ cooperatives / contributing family workers / others). The second level has eight categories and the third level has 13. To measure the proposed revised ICSE in total 28 variables are needed.  The proposed revisions raised measurement problems, such as fixed-term, casual, short term and seasonal employment, and owner-managers of incorporated enterprises. Our survey questions aim to measure most of the these categories. A first survey question identifies if respondents have paid work, followed by a question to identify the six ISCE-93 groups. Follow-up survey questions specify each group in greater detail, specifically the employees and the self-employed. It has questions to differentiate between formal versus informal employees, and a question to measure bogus self-employment.

We provide the coding scheme and the syntax needed to convert the data from the survey questions into the revised ICSE classification as well as a list of survey questions and answers that have been translated in 47 languages, facilitating the measurement of the ICSE classification in 99 countries. The survey questions and answers for ISCE and for ESEG, including their translations, can be found in the excel files below.

Further readings and lists of questions:

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