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Step 7: Implementing ESeC in member states and new member states

One other vital issue is how the classification should be implemented in each member state and new member state. This will be achieved through work packages 12 and 14.

We take the view that implementation of an ESeC can only be achieved if we can convince official statisticians, within Eurostat and the NSIs of the EU member and new member states, that the classification has face validity across the (enlarged) European Union and that it adds value to our understanding of variations in national and/or cross-national life chances (as measured via health, education, employment, deprivation and other social and economic indicators). We have designed two work packages with this aim in mind (work packages 12 and 14). These work packages will provide for face-to-face discussion between consortium members, Eurostat and NSIs of the issues relating to and arising from implementation of the ESeC within national statistical sources, as well as web-based access to the principles and methods of its construction.

Invitations will be issued to Eurostat and to all the other current EU member states’ NSIs to attend the conference in work package 12. At this conference, NSIs will learn about the validation of ESeC, as well as how it can be operationalized and used. Each NSI will be encouraged to test ESeC for itself following the production of the operational guide or user manual to be produced in work package 13. Some NSIs might then wish to apply the ESeC matrix to their own national occupational classification through existing crosswalks to ISCO88. The first point to be determined for each country would relate to the problems involved in creating ESeC from their data. This could best be determined for each member state using the LFS and possibly ECHP in the first instance. This would give some indication of any comparability problems.

Similarly, work package 14, which relates specifically to the problems faced by the transition countries in implementing and using the proposed ESeC, will involve all the NSIs of the new EU member states. Through an existing network of contacts with experts in occupational classification in these countries, we plan to invite all new member states to participate in a workshop devoted to the development of comparative socio-economic data within their countries.

New member states have made much progress in recent years in the implementation of ISCO88 within their national statistical sources. It will be fairly straightforward for them to apply the revised derivation matrices to their Labour Force Surveys and other household survey data sources. Prior to the work package 14 workshop, each participating country will be requested to prepare a specific set of tabulations relating to social indicators and derived from their national statistical sources. These will then be critically assessed in the workshop which will be devoted to the comparative analysis of socio-economic conditions in new member states. At the end of September 2006, a workshop report will be produced by WARWICK and UESSEX-ISER assessing the extent to which new member states have applied the ESeC to national statistical sources in a valid manner. This report will include recommendations on the application of the ESeC in new member states and possible adoption by some new member states of the ESeC as their national socio-economic classification, especially those who use ISCO88 as their national occupational classification. After the end of the project the workshop proceedings will be used as a basis for one or more publications.

The following section describes the current state of the art with regard to socio-economic classifications.