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Social aspects of employment: data for policy research

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The population census provides a somewhat neglected and under-utilized source of statistical information. Data on the labour force from household censuses and surveys are of particular interest for policy research on the social aspects of employment. The characteristics of these data sources are outlined, and their potential for secondary analysis is explored with particular reference to census statistics. The census provides a useful source for studies of the changing definitions of ‘work’, ‘occupation’ and ‘employment’; the labour force participation profiles of individuals and families; the unemployed (both registered and unregistered); occupational segregation on the basis of sex or other factors; the separation of home and work-place and the characteristics of homeworkers; labour force minorities such as the self-employed and family workers; the labour force characteristics of ethnic minorities; qualified manpower; and the determinants of earnings. Recent developments have improved access to household census and survey data for researchers outside the government.

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