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ESeC – European Socioeconomic Classification

ESeC offers a classification of socioeconomic positions both for European comparisons and for analyses on the country level. In the ESeC project, harmonised operationalisations and validations were implemented for Europe based on the theoretical model of the Erikson-Goldthorpe class scheme (EGP). For the classifications, the occupational codes according to the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08, occupational subgroups (3-digits)), the employment status, and the type of employment relations are used. The recoding essentially follows the SPSS syntax of Eric Harrison.

In the microcensus from 2012 onwards, there are two sources available for defining the supervisor status.

  • The information on the workplace requirements (variables EF116u1-EF116u6, without obligation to provide information) essentially comprise supervisory functions. 19% of all dependent employees, however, do not answer the question. When assigned to ESeC categories, this group is recoded as persons without supervisor status. Since 2012, the data are no longer surveyed with the sampling fraction for the structural variables of the EU Labour Force Survey of 0.1% but with the full sampling fraction of 1%.
  • From 2012 onwards, the new variable EF120 contains information on both management and supervisory functions. In contrast to EF116u*, only about 2% of the dependent employees do not answer the question; this mainly concerns persons from the “Jahresüberhang” who were surveyed with the 2011 questionnaire.

Both the increase in the sampling fraction and the new information on management and supervisory functions (EF120) provide the possibility to recode ESeC for the entire sample for the first time. If the variables EF116u* are used, 27% of the employed persons have a supervisor status (without weighting and excluding invalid answers). When using EF120, it is 20%. The differences in the marginal distributions (%) of ESeC of both versions are only marginal.

With regard to leadership vs. supervision functions different question wordings are used in the national surveys of the EU Labour Force Survey (see Pollak et al., 2009; this still applies). The main advantage of using EF120 is the very small amount of item nonresponse.

Further information:

  • Website of Eric Harrison about ESeC [last visit: 07/2020]
  • Müller, Walter, Heike Wirth, Gerrit Bauer, Reinhard Pollak und Felix Weiss (2006): ESeC - Kurzbericht zur Validierung und Operationalisierung einer europäischen sozioökonomischen Klassifikation. ZUMA-Nachrichten 30 (59): 111-119 [.pdf].
  • Pollak, Reinhard, Heike Wirth, Felix Weiss, Gerrit Bauer und Walter Müller (2009): On the Comparative Measurement of Supervisory Status using the Examples of the ESS and the EU-LFS. In: Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Sladana Sakac Magdalenic und Christof Wolf (Hg.): International vergleichende Sozialforschung. Ansätze und Messkonzepte unter den Bedingungen der Globalisierung: 173-206. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag.

Download the programme to recode ESeC

Please note:

The setups should be downloaded and used with statistics programs. The browser view provides only an overview. Characters with an Umlaut and line breaks are sometimes displayed incorrectly.

SPSS Stata
Microcensus 2016 [.sps] [.do]
Microcensus 2015 [.sps] [.do]
Microcensus 2014 [.sps] [.do]
Microcensus 2013 [.sps] [.do]
Microcensus 2012 [.sps] [.do]