Survey Guidelines

Coding of Occupations

In almost all surveys, respondents are asked for details of their occupation in the context of the demographic variables. The aim of the present contribution is to provide help with coding these details.

Two standardised category schemas are available to social scientists[ in Germany]: the national Klassifikation der Berufe 2010 (KldB 2010) and the 2008 version of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08). While the KldB classifies the actual occupational titles, ISCO-08 measures occupations. The present contribution is organised as follows: First, the structure of the two schemas is outlined; second, the additional information that should be used when coding occupations is described; third, the individual coding procedures – manual, semi-automatic, and automatic coding – and the corresponding software programmes are presented; fourth, the use of the coded occupational details in the analysis is addressed. The occupational codes are often used to calculate indices of occupational status, socio-economic status, or class membership that form the basis for further analyses. The International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI-08), the Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale (SIPOS), and the International Socio-Economic Classes (ISEC) Scale are briefly described. As a general rule, when coding occupations, the data collected and the way in which these data are coded depend to a large extent on the respective research question. The contribution concludes with a discussion of alternatives to the time-consuming coding of occupations according to KldB and ISCO.

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