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Changes in the final version

Managers

SOC2000 has much more refined unit groups for managerial occupations. This has allowed us to make better distinctions than before between senior managers in Class 1.1 and middle and junior managers in Class 2. With the interim NS-SEC, this distinction could only be made crudely by reference to the size of organisation in which a manager worked. Senior managers are more likely to be in large organisations, junior managers are more likely in small organisations. But obviously there are many junior and especially middle managers in large organisations that will then be placed in Class 1.1 rather than in Class 2.

The final version of the NS-SEC is less reliant on organisation size because, to a large extent, the managerial unit groups of SOC2000 separate senior from middle and junior managerial jobs. Hence, the relevant operational elements of Classes 1.1 and 2 respectively are no longer called ‘managers in large organisations’ and ‘managers in small organisations’, but ‘higher managerial occupations’ and ‘lower managerial occupations’.

As a result of this change, over half of those managers who were originally classified to Class 1.1 in the interim NS-SEC are now in Class 2. That is, we have been able to use the unit groups of SOC2000 to identify some junior and middle managers in large organisations that had originally been placed in Class 1.1. We have then reallocated them to the class they should have been in all along, Class 2. Among the managerial occupations affected are managers of bank, building society and post office branches, transport managers, customer care managers, accounts managers and office managers.

Professionals

Similar changes have been made to the way employees in professional occupations are distributed between Class 1.2 and Class 2. The interim NS-SEC distinguished ‘professional occupations’ in Class 1.2 from ‘associate professional occupations’ which went to Class 2. The final version of NS-SEC distinguishes ‘higher professional occupations’ (1.2) from ‘lower professional occupations’ (2). Lower professionals are distinguished by the fact that they are subject to more day-to-day control by managers than higher professionals.

As a result of this change, the number of professionals in Class 1.2 has been almost halved. Occupations affected include social workers, schoolteachers, optometrists and production and planning engineers, all now in Class 2.

In the interim version of NS-SEC, Class 1 accounted for 22% of the employed population and Class 2 for 17%. In the final version, Class 1 is 11% and Class 2 is 23.5%. Thus together they now account for almost 35% of the employed population, whereas before they accounted for 39%. Where has the other 4% gone? Most have been allocated to other classes because their jobs are no longer classified as managerial by the SOC (e.g. credit controllers who are now in the intermediate Class 3).

Some, however, have gone to Class 4, ‘small employers and own account workers’. After further research using both LFS and 1991 Census data, some self-employed and small employers previously in Class 2 have been moved to Class 4 because their occupations are neither managerial nor professional (e.g. guest house proprietors). As a consequence, Class 4 is now more homogeneous and includes all self-employed persons and small employers in non-professional occupations.

Alongside this change, we have created new categories of the underlying operational version of the NS-SEC for the self-employed and small employers in professional occupations. As with professional employees, these are divided between the higher and lower professions in Classes 1.2 and 2. Thus a self-employed lawyer would be in Class 1.2, but a self-employed planning engineer would be in Class 2.

Other changes

Other occupations that were in Class 2 are now in Class 3, ‘intermediate occupations’. For example, while police sergeants and their equivalents in the fire and prison services remain in Class 2, constables, firefighters and junior prison officers are moved to Class 3. This revision is in line with the rule that higher supervisors are in Class 2 and those they supervise are in Class 3.

Some employee occupations that were initially allocated to Class 3 have been reallocated to Class 6, ‘semi-routine occupations’. Again this reflects the more refined nature of the SOC2000 unit groups. Occupations affected here include telephone operators and call centre telephone salespersons. However, call centre customer services personnel are in Class 3 because they generally have better employment conditions than other call centre workers have.

Finally, some construction trades and all lorry and van drivers have been moved from Class 6 to Class 7, ‘routine occupations’. However, some other employee occupations have moved from Class 6 to Class 5, renamed ‘lower supervisory and technical occupations’ (e.g. landscape gardeners, chemical process workers and railway construction workers); and others have been moved from Class 7 to Class 6 (e.g. childcare assistants).

A full comparison of the interim and final versions of NS-SEC is shown in table 1.

Table 1 Interim and final versions compared

Final VersionInterim Version
%%
1 Higher managerial and professional occupations1 Higher managerial and professional occupations
1.1 Large employers and higher managerial occupations4.39.61A Employers and managers in large organisations
1.2 Higher professional occupations6.812.41B Professionals
2 Lower managerial and professional occupations23.516.92 Lower managerial and associate professional occupations
3 Intermediate occupations14.013.73 Intermediate occupations
4 Small employers and own account workers9.99.24 Small employers and own account workers
5 Lower supervisory and technical occupations9.810.15 Lower supervisory, craft and related occupations
6 Semi-routine occupations18.620.46 Semi-routine occupations
7 Routine occupations12.77.77 Routine occupations

Data: Labour Force Survey Winter Quarter 1996/97 (excluding Northern Ireland) N=63,233 (may not add to 100% due to rounding)

The ‘manual/non-manual divide’

The new NS-SEC confirms that the manual/non-manual divide is dead in so far as it was meant to reflect a broad division between the ‘middle’ and ‘working’ classes. Some ‘manual’ employee occupations are in the ‘lower middle’ Class 3 (e.g. telephone fitters and specialist electricians). Many ‘non-manual’ employee occupations are in ‘working’ Classes 6 and 7. In Class 6 we have shop assistants, sales assistants, cashiers, junior clerks and some call centre workers. In Class 7, there are window dressers, floral arrangers and store clerks. The male, manual, muscular industrial working class is fast disappearing from the scene. Indeed Class 6 is now largely a female, non-manual, service sector class: the ‘white-collar working class’ of the service economy. In fact, in some ways it is a class apart, neither part of the intermediate class 3, nor entirely similar to the male-dominated remainder of Class 6. This is a changing aspect of the occupational structure that we shall continue to monitor.

Men and women in the NS-SEC

We can also see from table 2 how the gender balance of classes has changed with the new NS-SEC. While men and women are equally represented in Class 2 among the lower managers and professionals, Class 1 shows a very different picture. Here men outnumber women by almost three-to-one. While this is actually an improvement in terms of women’s representation in the top two classes compared with even ten years ago, women are still an under-represented (but growing) part of Class 1 – the top echelons of industry and the professions.

In lower occupations, we find more men than women in the traditional male preserve of Class 5 – the foremen and ‘skilled’ workers. The reverse is true for the traditionally female preserve of Class 3. As we have seen, Class 6 also has a preponderance of women. Class 7 is almost equally divided between men and women, where drivers and cleaners are the two largest occupational groupings. Men continue to outnumber women in the self-employed Class 4.

Table 2 Combined table for men and women

Final VersionInterim Version
%
(M/F)
%
(M/F)
1 Higher managerial and professional occupations1 Higher managerial and professional occupations
1.1 Large employers and higher managerial occupations4.3
(80/20)
9.6
(67/33)
1A Employers and managers in large organisations
1.2 Higher professional occupations6.8
(75/25)
12.4
(58/42)
1B Professionals
2 Lower managerial and professional occupations23.5
(50/50)
16.9
(53/47)
2 Lower managerial and associate professional occupations
3 Intermediate occupations14.0
(28/72)
13.7
(20/80)
3 Intermediate occupations
4 Small employers and own account workers9.9
(73/27)
9.2
(75/25)
4 Small employers and own account workers
5 Lower supervisory and technical occupations9.8
(75/25)
10.1
(78/22)
5 Lower supervisory, craft and related occupations
6 Semi-routine occupations18.6
(40/60)
20.4
(53/47)
6 Semi-routine occupations
7 Routine occupations18.6
(40/60)
20.4
(53/47)
7 Routine occupations

Data: Labour Force Survey Winter Quarter 1996/97 (excluding Northern Ireland) N=63,233 (may not add to 100% due to rounding)

Summary

In conclusion, while the net changes between the interim and final versions of the NS-SEC are greater than we had originally expected, they generally reflect the fact that the unit groups of SOC2000 offer an improved basis for actualising the NS-SEC. That is, it improves the accuracy with which we can measure NS-SEC positions. In particular, Classes 1 and 2 are far better defined and measured and now reflect, as they were intended to, the broad divisions of the managerial and professional hierarchies.

The net effects of the changes to the overall distribution of classes, as well as the changes to category names, can be seen in tables1 and 2. Table 3 shows the continuity between the interim and final versions of the NS-SEC.

Table 3 NS-SEC Soc90 Interim Version by Soc2000 NS-SEC Final Version.

Interim

Col % Final Version by SOC2000

Version

1.1

1.2

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

1A

1715

65

1820

177

35

77

3889

96.07

1.94

16.42

2.62

*

*

7.82

1B

31

3200

2853

10

104

2

6200

1.73

95.80

25.75

*

2.04

*

12.47

2

39

75

6290

1035

224

197

47

27

7937

2.18

2.24

56.77

15.33

4.40

4.01

*

*

15.97

3

51

5368

70

1041

49

6579

*

79.51

1.43

10.78

*

13.24

4

32

4757

4789

*

93.53

9.63

5

26

96

4346

327

127

4922

*

1.42

88.55

3.39

1.79

9.90

6

7

60

235

7655

3075

11039

*

*

4.79

79.29

43.34

22.21

7

5

25

506

3817

4353

*

*

5.24

53.80

8.76

Total

1785

3340

11079

6751

5086

4908

9655

7095

49699

Row %

3.59

6.72

22.29

13.58

10.23

9.87

19.42

14.27

100.00

Agreement: 37244/49699=74.9%