Structure of earnings survey 2002 (earn_ses)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit F3: Labour market
1.5. Contact mail address 5, Rue Alphonse Weicker L-2721 Luxembourg

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 31/12/2004
2.2. Metadata last posted 31/12/2004
2.3. Metadata last update 31/12/2004

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Structure of Earnigns Survey is a 4-yearly survey conducted by the National Statistical Institutes (NSI).

The tables published present data on number of employees, mean hourly earnings and hourly overtime pay, mean monthly earnings and overtime & shift pay, mean annual earnings and total annual bonuses, mean monthly hours paid and mean annual holidays.

Details of available indicators and tables can be found under Annexes Tables 2002 at the bottom of this page.

Regional metadata is identical to metadata provided for the national data.

3.2. Classification system

Data are classified by economic activity (NACE Rev. 1.1), size class (five categories) and region (NUTS classification).

Regional breakdown is based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) reference year 1997. Detailed NUTS classifications are available for EU Member States as well as for EFTA and Candidate Countries

3.3. Coverage - sector

Economic activity is broken down at the division level of the General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (NACE) Rev.1.1 for Sections C to K. For several countries information is also available for NACE Rev.1.1 Sections L to O. For more details on the NACE categories see "Coverage" in the annex at the bottom of the page.

Five size categories are distinguished: 10 to 49 employees, 50 to 249 employees, 250 to 499 employees, 500 to 999 employees and units having at least 1 000 employees. Several countries extended their survey coverage to smaller units, so that a sixth size category for units with fewer than 10 employees is available in these cases.

The regional breakdown is based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) which was valid when the 2002 survey data were communicated mid-2004. Any regional breakdown is shown only at NUTS-1 level.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The Structure of Earnings Survey (SES) represents EU-wide harmonised structural data on gross earnings, hours paid and annual days of paid holiday leave which are collected every four years under the Council Regulation 530/1999 and Commission Regulation 1916/2000. The objective of this legislation is to provide accurate and harmonised data on earnings in EU Member States and Candidate Countries for policy-making and research purposes.

The 2002 SES will give detailed and comparable information on relationships between the level of remuneration, individual characteristics of employees (sex, age, occupation, length of service, highest educational level attained, etc) and their employer (economic activity, size and location of the enterprise).

Employees are all persons who a have a direct employment contract with the enterprise or local unit and receive remuneration, irrespective of the type of work performed or the number of hours worked.

Gross earnings cover remuneration in cash paid directly by the employer, before deductions of tax and social security contributions.

Gross Monthly earnings are restricted to gross earnings which are paid in each pay period.

Gross Annual earnings also include allowances and bonuses which are not paid in each pay period, such as 13th month payments or holiday bonuses. Severance payments and payment in kind are not included

Gross Hourly earnings are defined as gross monthly earnings divided by the number of hours paid in the same month.

Hours paid cover normal and overtime hours. Hours not worked but nevertheless paid are also counted as hours paid. Examples are annual holidays or sick leave.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistics of the 2002 SES refers to enterprises with at least 10 employees in the areas of economic activity defined by sections C-K of NACE Rev.1.1. The inclusion of sections L-O is optional for 2002, as is the inclusion of enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. However several countries (Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Slovak Republic and United Kingdom) covered all

3.6. Statistical population

The statistical population refers to local units / enterprises and employees.

3.7. Reference area

The survey covers information from more than 7.9 Million employees in all Member States of the EU at the reference year as well as for Bulgaria, Romania, Iceland and Norway.

European aggregates are published for: EU25, EU15, NMS10 and EA11 

3.8. Coverage - Time

The time coverage varies according to the periodicity of the different statistics: 

a) There has been a legal obligation for the Member States to carry out Structure of Earnings Surveys since 1999. The reference year for the first (and still most recent) survey was 2002. The results of an earlier survey in respect of 1995 are not comparable with the 2002 survey.

b) Annual since 1995.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Gross earnings and their main components are expressed in absolute terms (euro, national currencies - if different - and Purchasing Power Standards (PPS)). Information on number of employees is expressed in absolute number of persons.

5. Reference Period Top

The data refer to 2002 as reference year. Exceptionally, Germany was given a derogation to carry out their SES for the reference year 2001.

The reference month is October for the majority of the countries, this being the month which is least affected by absences owing to annual leave or public holidays. The choice of another month is acceptable if the month can be justified as being representative.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 of 9 March 1999 concerning structural statistics on earnings and on labour costs

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1738/2005 of 21 October 2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 1916/2000 as regards the definition and transmission of information on the structure of earnings

Commission Regulation (EC) No 72/2002 of 16 January 2002 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 as regards quality evaluation of structural statistics on earnings

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

The SES micro-data cannot be released under the current regulation on statistical confidentiality. Only tabular data have therefore been published. In order to limit the disclosure risk of these tables the following measures have been applied:

  • Region: restricted to the national level;
  • Economic activity: restricted to NACE, 1 digit
  • Size of the enterprise: published in bands of employee numbers
  • Citizenship: not published;
  • Age: restricted to 6 bands (14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+);
  • Occupation: restricted to 9 categories of the ISCO 88 (1-digit) classification;

Sample threshold rule of 3 units: tables cells with 1 or 2 units are considered disclosive and are not published - more details can be found in Annex 2002 Tables.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Not applicable.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

Not applicable.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Not applicable.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Not available.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

In the SES information about individual entities, employees and enterprises, is collected. The safety of these micro-data has to be guaranteed to make sure that individual entities cannot be recognised through inspection of released data. The goal of disclosure control is to disseminate statistical information in such a way that individual information is sufficiently protected against recognition of the subjects to which it refers, while at the same time providing as much information as possible.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Refer to implementing arrangements document in annex.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Information on the quality can be found in the "Summary of the quality reports" in the annex at the bottom of the page.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

According to Regulation (EC) 530/1999 national authorities shall ensure that the results reflect the true situation of the total population of units with a sufficient degree of representativity. National authorities are therefore obliged to provide a Quality Report containing all relevant information to enable the quality of the statistics to be evaluated.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Not available.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The main users of the survey are:
at international level: services of the European Commission, European Parliament, ECB,OECD, IMF, ILO, etc.

  • at national level: Ministries for Economy or Finance and other government bodies, trade unions, employers' associations, political parties, research centres, universities, and the media.

 Application areas for the SES data are, amongst others, the monitoring of gender pay issues, the use by trade unions for wage negotiations or by policy-makers for setting minimum wages.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Romania involved the main user groups in preparing the survey (design of the questionnaire). For all other countries, the evaluation of user needs was based on assumptions or experience from past surveys, not on a systematic evaluation of user wishes and user satisfaction by means of a questionnaire.

12.3. Completeness

The national quality reports show that the SES 2002 was to a large extent carried out without serious problems with regard to NACE coverage or coverage of mandatory variables. For many countries the SES 2002 was the first structural survey on earnings. An overview on voluntary extensions of the survey framework and further information on completeness of statistics can be found in the document "Summary of the quality reports".

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

SES2002 was conducted on the basis of a two-stage sampling approach of enterprises or local units (first stage) and employees (second stage).

13.2. Sampling error

Sampling is always connected with a trade-off between accuracy and data collection burden. A sampling rate of 100 % (census) eliminates random effects but maximizes the burden. Most NSIs decided to go for random sampling of enterprises with sampling rates chosen in dependency on the size of the enterprises. Reg. 72/2000 asks for performance measures for certain variables of the SES 2002 calculated on the basis of sampling procedures, in particular the coefficient of variation (CV) for the monthly gross earnings for full-time and part-time employees with a breakdown by combinations of SES variables (such as NACE section / NUTS-1 region or occupation / sex).

Refer to the summary of quality reports in annex for further details.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Reg. 72/20000 requires reporting on non-sampling errors, in particular on under and over-coverage, as well as on information on errors in data measurement and on data processing, non-response rates or errors due to the use of inappropriate models and model assumptions. Further information on non-sampling errors can be found in the document "Summary of the quality reports" in the annex at the bottom of the page.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The start of SES data collection varied between July 2002 (Hungary) and July 2004 (Greece), with the exception of Germany, which used 2001 as the reference year. For further details see the document "Summary of the quality reports" in the annex at the bottom of the page.

14.2. Punctuality

Article 2 of Regulation 72/2002 sets the deadline for sending the SES quality reports to Eurostat (24 months after the end of the reference year). The official deadline for sending the reports was met or at least approximately met by half of the countries. Two countries (Netherlands, Portugal) did not even meet the extended deadline and this implied delays for the summary quality reporting by Eurostat.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability of the SES data across national borders may be affected by the use of different observation units and definitions, methods or classification schemes, i. e. by deviations between national and Community concepts. An overview on comparability problems reported to Eurostat can be found in the annex of the document "Summary of the quality reports".

15.2. Comparability - over time

The comparability of the recent SES 2002 results and those from the reference year 1995 for the same geographical unit is for all countries reduced due to important changes as regards the set of mandatory variables (introduction of new variables, deletion of certain old variables), or the definition or breakdown of variables. For further details you may see the document "Summary of the quality reports" in the annex at the bottom of the page.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

In accordance with Reg. 72/2002, the report "Summary of the quality reports" concentrates on summarizing coherence issues related to the SES on one hand and the LFS, the SBS and National Accounts on the other hand. The quality Regulation 72/2002 made coherence considerations referring to SES - LFS mandatory and those referring to SES - SBS and SES - NA optional. Hence, it is not surprising that the majority of countries participating in the SES 2002 only reported on observations related to the coherence of the SES and the LFS. An overview on the main findings reported by the NSIs along with some further information on coherence can be found in the "Summary of the quality reports".

15.4. Coherence - internal

An overview on the main findings reported by the NSIs along with some further information on coherence can be found in the "Summary of the quality reports".

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Apart from adjustments following internal checks, the data are accepted directly as communicated by the Member States. Revisions only occur rarely.

17.2. Data revision - practice

If necessary, after running a series of data validation checks, countries are asked to revise their data until it is considered fit for publishing.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The collection of data for the 2002 SES can be obtained from "tailor-made" questionnaires, existing surveys, administrative data or a combination of such sources, which provide the equivalent information. While accepting a degree of flexibility in the means employed for collecting the survey data, the information obtained must be of acceptable quality and be comparable between European countries.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

This is a four yearly survey data collection.

18.3. Data collection

The national surveys were generally conducted on the basis of a two-stage random sampling approach of enterprises or local units (first stage) and employees (second stage). Further details of the national sampling plans can be found in the "Summary of quality reports" in annex.

18.4. Data validation

Data validation consists of Global checks and Plausibility checks.

Global checks are necessary to ensure that complete data is received on micro-data records. For each country, all micro-data records should contain data for all mandatory variables. Missing data or codes are not accepted. Concerning optional variables each country decides which of these it is able to supply.

Furthermore plausibility checks on all variables were done to ensure that the data are reasonable and consistent with other SES variables

18.5. Data compilation

Grossing factors have been applied by Eurostat to the variables on each micro-data record for the local units to obtain population estimates of the total number of local units, including breakdowns by region, NACE activity, etc. These grossing factors also account for the country's weight in computing the European aggrgegates.

Similarly grossing factors were applied to the variables on microdata records for the employees to obtain population estimates of the total number of employees and their aggregate earnings (broken down by sex, age, FT/PT, etc). The grossed up number of employees is used for weighting purposes, including the calculation of European averages. Likewise, the grossed up number of employees is used as the denominator for the calculation of employees' average earnings (hourly, monthly, annual), average paid hours, holidays, etc.

Gross earnings and their main components are expressed in absolute terms (euro, national currencies - if different - and Purchasing Power Standards (PPS)). Conversion into euro and PPS is based on the annual conversion rates for 2002 (2001 for Germany).

PPS (purchasing power standard) is an artificial currency that reflects differences in national price levels that are not taken into account by exchange rates. This unit allows meaningful volume comparisons of economic indicators over countries. Aggregates expressed in PPS are derived by dividing aggregates in current prices and national currency with the respective Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

18.6. Adjustment

In order to make the information for all employees fully comparable, annual gross earnings data of part-time employees as well as those which did not work during the whole year have been adjusted to the situation of a full-time employee working the whole year. Employees having worked less than 30 weeks have been excluded from the calculation of the average gross annual earnings. 

19. Comment Top

Details of the compatibility of information from the different sources and the peculiarities of individual national SES data can be found in the annex "Summary of the quality reports".

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
2002 Tables
Summary of the quality reports
SES2002 Implementation Arrangements