Codebook and explanatory note on the EurOccupations dataset about the job content of 150 occupations

Occupation is the key unit in matching vacancies and job seekers, and it is used for occupational choice and for career consultancy. Occupation is also a key variable in social research, particularly that which relates to the labour market, transitions from school to work, social stratification, gender wage gaps, occupational structures and skill requirements. Despite the fact that occupation is such an important concept, little is known about the similarity of occupations across EU member states. For this reason, the EU-funded FP6 project EurOccupations (2006-2009) aimed to build a freely available web-based database containing 1,500 to 2,000 of the most common occupations; and to test the similarity of job content, required skill level, and competency profiles for a selection of 150 occupations across the eight member states in the project (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and United Kingdom).

This codebook explains the data collection methods used in the project and outlines the dataset collected for the detailed analysis of 150 occupations. Section 2 explains the selection of these 150 occupational titles from a provisional source list of 1,433 occupations. Four criteria were used for the selection, namely variation in skill level and ISCO major groups, variation in gender composition, the prevalence of the occupation amongst job-holders, and the extent to which an occupation might be considered ‘blurred’, with wide demarcation lines.

Section 3 details the process used for testing the similarity of the selected occupations. Unique task descriptions (10-12 tasks) for all 150 occupations were drafted by means of desk research. A web-survey was designed with questions about the frequency of particular tasks and the required skill level for each occupation. Experts from all the study countries were recruited for survey completion. For a number of occupations, the goal of two completed expert questionnaires for each occupation in each country was not reached and the questionnaire was slightly adapted for completion by job holders. The job holders were recruited through teaser advertisements on the WageIndicator websites in the countries at stake.

Section 4 explains the structure of the dataset. The dataset can by freely accessed, see EurOccuations Data. The Appendix includes all questionnaires used for the survey, as well as the labels used for the education and occupation variables. This codebook and all project deliverables can be downloaded from the project website

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Tijdens, K.G., De Ruijter, E., De Ruijter, J. (2011). Codebook and explanatory note on the EurOccupations dataset about the job content of 150 occupations. AIAS Working Paper 11-107. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: University of Amsterdam. (EN). (360 kB)