ILO and ISCO by Eivind Hoffmann Bureau of Statistics International Labour Office

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1 ILO and ISCO-88 1 by Eivind Hoffmann Bureau of Statistics International Labour Office Introduction The International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) is one of the main international statistical standards and classifications for which the International Labour Office (ILO), represented by its Bureau of Statistics (STAT), is responsible. The current version, ISCO-88, was approved by the 14th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in 1987 and by the ILO Governing Body in It was immediately made available to users in English, French and Spanish, and has since been available as printed volumes as well as on diskette 2. Available on diskette is also a set of descriptions of more detailed occupational groups than those included in ISCO-88. They have been taken from the previous version, ISCO-68, with minor adaptations, but the limited resources made it impossible to update them completely in connection with the development of ISCO- 88. Use of ISCO-88 in national statistical programmes The extent of penetration and acceptance of ISCO-88 cannot be easily measured, as the institutions making use of the classification for the production of statistics, for job placement functions, for the development of a national occupational classification or for any other purpose, will not necessarily inform the ILO or seek assistance on how to best use the this tool. From the information collected for the revised edition of Statistical Sources & Methods, Vol. 5: Population Censuses we know that 65 countries with a population census in the period established links to ISCO-88 for their latest census results while 33 countries linked the results to ISCO In 1994 only 17 countries said that ISCO-88 was already in use for statistics on the economically active population requested for the Year Book of Labour Statistics, with an additional 18 countries saying that it would be used by (The results for ISIC, rev. 3 were almost exactly the same.) When looking at the statistics submitted for the 1997 edition of the Year Book we find that 37 countries and territories are in fact represented with employment and/or unemployment statistics according to ISCO-88 major groups (while 38 submitted some employment data according to ISIC, rev.3). It is interesting to observe that 16 of them are not among those known to have a national classification structured according to ISCO-88 principles. In fact 3 of the countries are among the countries known to have chosen a different structure. 1 Note prepared for the Third Meeting of the Expert Group on International Economic and Social Classifications, New York, 1-3 December The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the International Labour Office or its Bureau of Statistics. The author apologizes for all errors and omissions, and would welcome all comments and suggestions for improvements and correction. Address: CH-1211 GENEVE 22, Switzerland; Fax: ; 2 A Catalan version was published in 1996, and a Russian version is expected before the end of See the list annexed to this note.

2

3 Up to end August 1997 STAT had direct contacts with 53 countries and territories which have developed, or are in the process of developing, national occupational classifications based on ISCO-88 as a model or on the same principles. Nine countries have decided to use another model when revising their national classification, usually that of their previous national classification. Technical cooperation and other support for national development work STAT has provided advice for four efforts to develop common regional classifications based on ISCO-88: (i) ISCO-88(COM) was developed in 1993 to be used when reporting occupational statistics to Eurostat. It should be seen as a "European" statistical adaptation of ISCO-88 and not as a separate classification. (The EURES system for announcing job vacancies within the European Union is using SEDOC which was based on ISCO-68, at least for the time being.) (ii) The CIS Statistical Committee is cooperating with the ministries of labour and the statistical offices of the CIS member countries to develop a common occupational classification system based on the occupations identified in the CIS occupational classifier, used to determine pensions rights etc, as well as on ISCO-88. The first workshop on ISCO-88(CIS) took place in November (iii) The ILO/UNDP Asian regional Programme on International Labour Migration developed a special variant of ISCO -88 called Occupational Classification of Workers in Migration (ISCO-88(OCWM)) designed to facilitate communication between authorities and agents in labour exporting and importing countries in Asia and the Gulf region. (iv) Following a regional meeting organised by the South Pacific Commission (SPC) in 1992 plans for the development of a Pacific Standard Classification of Occupations (PASCO) were prepared, taking advantage of on-going work in Fiji. That it so far has proved impossible to mobilise the necessary funds for the project has not yet lead to a complete burial of the idea. The technical support provided by STAT to national efforts in the area of occupational classifications concerns both the development or revision of a national classification and the best methods for using the classification. Within the limits set by STAT's limited resources, about one half work-year per year for ISCO-related business, and funds available from ILO funds or other donors, the support ranges from answering written or oral questions to providing comments to drafts, one or more advisory missions of one to two weeks to assist in preparing plans for the project or provide training or support during the project, study visits abroad for those working on the development of a national classification, national and regional training seminars (for China and Kyrgyzstan as well as for CIS, South East Asian and South Pacific countries) and the provision of a resident expert to supervise a project. Countries were a national classification based on ISCO-88 has been developed with the assistance of an ILO sponsored or back-stopped resident expert include Trinidad & Tobago, Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritius and Fiji 4. Given the limited resources available in the ILO for work to advice countries on ISCO-88 it is fortunate that the Institute of Employment Research, University of Warwick (IER) in practice has functioned as a second center of competence in this area. IER did provide support for the development of Barbados' classification and has also worked with Kazakhstan, but the major part of their work has been with European countries: IER developed ISCO-88(COM) for Eurostat, has advised countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) on its use, both as basis for the development of national classifications and when mapping from national classifications. The same type of support has been provided by IER to the countries in central and eastern Europe covered by the PHARE programme through the Technical Assistance in the Classification of Occupations (TACO) programme, which through its 4 regional workshops has included the most thorough discussions anywhere of the difficulties and possibilities for establishing international comparability in 4 In Papua New Guinea ILO, but not STAT, provided an expert for work in the Ministry of Labour which in 1991 resulted in a classification based on ISCO-68, while the National Statistics Office, without external support, developed a classification based on ISCO-88 to be used in the 1990 Census.

4 occupational statistics. In addition to the ISCO-88 publication and diskettes mentioned above, useful ILO material on work with occupational classifications can be found in the two STAT Working Papers listed at the end of this paper as well as in chapter 10 in Hussmanns et al (1992) and in chapters 22, 23 and 24 of Chernyshev (1994). Information about the classifications in the ILO Year Book of Labour Statistics can be found on STAT's web pages 5, where hyperlinks are provided to the corresponding web-sites of IER and (soon) United Nations Statistical Division. In the future we hope to establish such links also to the corresponding national sites, as part of the plan to establish the ILO site as the main door of entry into the world of occupational classifications, as well as to the occupational classifications of the world. Maintenance and updating Systematic work to up-date and extend ISCO-88 has not yet started because of limited resources, but the World Health Organization has provided new descriptions for the following groups defined for nursing occupations: 223, 2230, 323, 3231, 3232 and Some international federations of organizations of people working in particular professions see the separate identification of these professions in ISCO-88 as important for their international recognition and have contacted the ILO to this end. On this basis we have reviewed the treatment of Medical Physicists in a number national occupational classifications and expect to conclude before the end of 1997 on how this profession should be reflected in ISCO-88 in the future. Another occupation, or group of occupations, which unfortunately, has become important enough to warrant separate identification in ISCO-88 in the future is Pyro-technicians, i.e. those working to disarm land-mines. Concluding remarks ISCO-88 has been created to serve three main objectives: (i) To facilitate international communication about occupations by supplying national statisticians with a tool to make national occupational data available internationally. (ii) To make it possible for international occupational data to be produced in a form which can be useful for research as well as for specific decision-making and action-oriented activities, such as those connected with international migration or job placement. (iii) To serve as a model for countries developing or revising their national occupational classifications. The above review may serve an evaluation of the extent to which ISCO-88 and the follow-up work by the ILO, IER and national authorities has supported the achievement of these objectives. Implied by the first two objectives is the objective of having statistics for comparable occupational groups. In particular the work carried out under the auspices of TACO has demonstrated that this is not an easy objective to achieve in practice, see e.g P. Elias (1997), involving not only the formalities of the classification scheme as such, but also how it is being used in practice through the coding operations in surveys and administrative applications. The treatment of persons working in the Armed forces, however defined, is one of the most evident issues which needs to be explored, once it is clear that a national classification (or a national data set) is based on the ISCO-88 principles and distinctions. It seems that countries are increasingly following the practice advocated in the ILO's proposal for a revised ISCO, namely that jobs in the 'armed forces' should be classified together with civilian jobs having essentially the same types of tasks and duties, see paragraphs of ILO (1987), even though a majority of the delegations to the 14th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), at which the issue was heatedly discussed, preferred to 5 It is envisaged that corresponding sites in French and Spanish will be in place before the end of 1997.

5 classify all Members of the armed forces to a separate major group, as in the past. This issue therefore needs particular attention, and is a candidate for discussion also at the next review of the present ISCO structure. References: Chernyshev, I., ed. (1994): Labour statistics for a market economy: Challenges and solutions in the Transition Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Central European University Press. Budapest, Elias, P. (1997): Occupational classification (ISCO-88): Concepts, methods, reliability, validity and cross national comparability. Labour market and social policy occasional papers no 20/1997. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris Embury B. et al (1997): Constructing a map of the world of work: How to develop the structure and contents of a national standard classification of occupations. STAT working paper 95/2. International Labour Office, Geneva, Hoffmann, E. (1994): "Mapping a national classification of occupations into ISCO-88 - outline of a strategy." Chapter 23 of Chernyshev (1994). Hoffmann, E. (1994): "Mapping the World of Work: An International Review of the Use and gathering of Occupational Information". Chapter 24 of Chernyshev (1994). Hoffmann E. et al (1995): What kind of work do you do? Data collection and processing strategies when measuring "occupation" for statistical surveys and administrative records. STAT working paper 95/1. International Labour Office, Geneva, ILO (1987): Revision of the International Standard Classification of Occupations: Part I: Background, principles and draft resolution. Report IV to the Fourteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians, Geneva, 28 October - 6 November International Labour Office, Geneva, ILO (1990): ISCO-88: International Standard Classification of Occupations. International Labour Office, Geneva, (French and Spanish editions: Russian edition: 1997.)

6 ANNEX DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL CLASSIFICATIONS OF OCCUPATIONS SIMILAR TO ISCO-88 and USE OF CLASSIFICATIONS OF INDUSTRY AND OCCUPATION IN LAST POPULATION CENSUS DURING PERIOD CL1 = CL2 = CL3 = CL4 = CL5 = CL6 = CL7 = CL8 = whether country is known to have developed an ISCO-88 type national classification structure (*) or one based on different principles (**), and whether data on employnment or unemployment by ISCO-88 major groups are found in the 1997 Year Book of Labour Statistics (#). year of last population census in the period number of categories used to code "industry" link established to ISIC, rev.2 or rev.3? number of digits in ISIC code to which links have been established number of categories used to code "occupation" link established to ISCO-68 or ISCO-88? number of digits in ISCO code to which links have been established Census Industry classification Occupation classification COUNTRY CL1 CL2 CL3 CL4 CL5 CL6 CL7 CL8 Albania * no.... no. American Samoa Rev no. Anguilla Rev Antigua and Barbuda Rev Argentina ** Rev Aruba Rev Australia * Rev no. Austria # Rev Bahamas # Rev Bahrain Rev no. Barbados * Rev Belgium * Rev Belize Rev Benin Rev Bermuda Rev Bolivia # Rev Botswana * Rev Brazil * Rev Brunei Darussalam Rev Bulgaria * Rev Burundi Rev Canada ** no. 514 no. Cape Verde Rev Cayman Islands * Rev Central African Rep Rev

7 Census Industry classification Occupation classification COUNTRY CL1 CL2 CL3 CL4 CL5 CL6 CL7 CL8 Chad Rev Chile Rev China Rev Comoros no. 8 no. Cook Islands # Rev Cyprus *# Rev Czech Republic *# Rev &88 1 Dominican Republic * Rev Ecuador Rev El Salvador # Rev Equatorial Guinea Rev Finland * R.2& France ** Rev French Guiana no. 42 no. Gabon no Gambia Rev Gibraltar Rev no. Greece *# Rev Grenada Rev Guadeloupe no. 42 no. Guam no. 503 no. Guatemala Rev Hong Kong *# Rev Hungary *# no. 808 no. India Rev Indonesia Rev Iran, Islamic Rep. of Rev Ireland *# R.2& &88 2 Isle of Man * no Italy * Rev Jamaica Rev Japan ** Rev Kenya * 1989 no Korea, Republic of # Rev Luxembourg * no Macau * Rev Macedonia no. 10 no. Madagascar Rev Malaysia * Rev Maldives Rev Martinique no. 42 no. Mauritius *# Rev Mexico **# Rev Mongolia * no. 982 no. Morocco Rev

8 Census Industry classification Occupation classification COUNTRY CL1 CL2 CL3 CL4 CL5 CL6 CL7 CL8 Namibia * Rev Nauru no Nepal Rev Netherlands Antilles # Rev New Caledonia no. 33 no. New Zealand *# Rev Northern Mariana Islands no.... no. Norway * Rev Panama Rev Papua New Guinea * 1990 no Paraguay Rev Peru # Rev Philippines * Rev Portugal *# Rev Puerto Rico no. 503 no. Réunion no. 42 no. Romania *# Rev Saint Lucia Rev St.Vincent and the Grenadines Rev Samoa Rev Sao Tome and Principe Rev Saudi Arabia Rev Singapore *# Rev Slovakia *# Rev &88 1 Slovenia *# no.... no. South Africa Rev Spain *# R.2& &88 2 Sudan Rev Sweden * Rev Switzerland ** Rev Syrian Arab Republic Rev Thailand Rev Trinidad & Tobago *# Rev Turkey Rev Uganda 1991 no United Kingdom * Rev United States ** no. 501 no. Vanuatu Rev Venezuela Rev Viet Nam * no Virgin Islands (British) Rev Virgin Islands (US) no. 39 no. Yemen Rev Zambia Rev Zimbabwe 1992 no

9 7 OTHER COUNTRIES KNOWN TO HAVE DEVELOPED ISCO-88 SIMILAR CLASSIFICATIONS Belarus * Croatia * Denmark *# Estonia *# Fiji * Iceland *# Israel *# Latvia *# Lithuania * Pakistan * Poland *# Russian Federation * Tanzania * Ukraine * OTHER COUNTRIES PROVIDING DATA ON EMPLOYMENT OR UNEMPLOYMENT TO THE 1997 YEAR BOOK OF LABOUR STATISTICS ACCORDING TO ISCO-88 MAJOR GROUPS Eritrea # Germany **# Honduras # Jordan # Netherlands **# San Marino # Sri Lanka # REGIONAL VARIANTS OF ISCO-88 ISCO-88(COM) for the European Union (Eurostat) ISCO-88(CIS) for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS Statistical Committee) ISCO-88(OCWM): Occupational Classification of Workers in Migration under ISCO-88 of ILO/UNDP Asian Regional Programme on International Labour Migration (ILO, Bangkok, 1992) Geneva, 4 September 1997

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