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Handbook of Methods Occupational Requirements Survey Data sources

Occupational Requirements Survey: Data sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) field economists are extensively trained and given detailed instructions on data collection techniques. They employ a variety of methods, including personal visits, mail, telephone, and email, to obtain data from Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) respondents. Field economists do not use paper or online questionnaires to collect these data; instead, they rely on a conversational interview and descriptive documents, such as task lists, to collect information on occupational requirements from respondents.

Field economists collect each sample over a 1-year period and perform the following activities:

  • Verify that the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code accurately describes the primary business activity of the sampled establishment.
  • Review a list of employees or a list of job titles provided by the establishment respondent to determine the sampled jobs. See the Design section for more information.
  • Determine the correct occupation code and work level for each sampled job based on the job description and type of work performed. For more information on work levels, see National Compensation Survey: Guide for Evaluating Your Firm's Jobs and Pay, the Design section, and the Calculation section.
  • Examine whether workers in the sampled job work full- or part-time based on the sampled establishments' definition of work status. The usual work schedule for each sampled job is also collected and includes the daily and weekly hours and annual number of weeks that workers in the sampled job are expected to perform.
  • Collect data on job requirements that pertain to the sampled job's physical demands; environmental conditions; education, training, and experience; as well as cognitive and mental requirements. Field economists refer to task lists provided by respondents to understand the job requirements necessary to perform critical tasks in support of the critical job function(s).

For more detailed explanation of data collection process as well as examples of data coding scenarios refer to the ORS Collection Manuals.


All ORS-collected data and tabulated estimates are subject to the BLS confidentiality requirements that prevent the disclosure of establishment and respondent identifying information. ORS-collected data and tabulated estimates are used solely for statistical purposes. BLS has a strict confidentiality policy which ensures that the survey sample composition, lists of sampled establishments, responding establishments, and names of respondents will be kept confidential. In addition, the policy assures respondents that published figures will not reveal the identity of any specific establishment and will not allow the data of any specific responding establishment to be identified. Each published estimate is screened to ensure that it meets these confidentiality requirements.

Last Modified Date: May 16, 2022