Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Occupational Requirements Survey: Design

Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) data are collected from a national probability sample of establishments and occupations. Probability samples are subject to sampling and nonsampling errors, which are discussed in the Calculation section.

Establishment selection

The ORS program uses a probability-proportional-to-size (PPS) technique to select a sample of private industry establishments as well as state and local government establishments from across the nation. The larger the establishment's employment size, the greater its chance of being selected. Establishments from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible for selection.

The second wave total sample size will include approximately 50,000 establishments, collected over a 5-year period (2018–23). Private industry establishments will account for 85 percent (42,500) of the total, and state and local government establishments will account for the remaining 15 percent (7,500). Approximately one-fifth of the total sample size will be independently sampled each year with private industry and state and local government establishments being sampled in proportion to their representation in the full 5-year sample.

The sampling design for the 5-year private industry sample is a two-stage stratified sample of private industry establishments and occupations within selected establishments. Strata are formed by the cross-classification of the predicted presence and absence of predetermined occupations in establishments, 4 Census regions (Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and West), and aggregate industry (education services, financial activities, goods-producing, health care and social assistance, and service-providing), leading to 40 strata. For the purposes of sample selection, predetermined occupations are the 200 six-digit SOCs with the lowest employment across all ownerships based on the May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) estimates.

Exhibit 1. List of predetermined occupations
SOC code Occupation

11-3111

Compensation and benefits managers

11-9071

Gambling managers

11-9161

Emergency management directors

11-9171

Funeral home managers

13-1011

Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

13-1021

Buyers and purchasing agents, farm products

13-1032

Insurance appraisers, auto damage

15-2021

Mathematicians

17-1021

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

17-2021

Agricultural engineers

17-2121

Marine engineers and naval architects

17-2151

Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers

17-2161

Nuclear engineers

17-3021

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians

17-3024

Electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians

17-3025

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

19-1012

Food scientists and technologists

19-1013

Soil and plant scientists

19-1023

Zoologists and wildlife biologists

19-1041

Epidemiologists

19-2011

Astronomers

19-2012

Physicists

19-2021

Atmospheric and space scientists

19-2032

Materials scientists

19-2043

Hydrologists

19-3022

Survey researchers

19-3032

Industrial-organizational psychologists

19-3041

Sociologists

19-3091

Anthropologists and archeologists

19-3092

Geographers

19-3093

Historians

19-3094

Political scientists

19-4043

Geological technicians, except hydrologic technicians

19-4051

Nuclear technicians

19-4092

Forensic science technicians

19-5012

Occupational health and safety technicians

23-1022

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

25-1031

Architecture teachers, postsecondary

25-1041

Agricultural sciences teachers, postsecondary

25-1043

Forestry and conservation science teachers, postsecondary

25-1051

Atmospheric, earth, marine, and space sciences teachers, postsecondary

25-1053

Environmental science teachers, postsecondary

25-1054

Physics teachers, postsecondary

25-1061

Anthropology and archeology teachers, postsecondary

25-1062

Area, ethnic, and cultural studies teachers, postsecondary

25-1063

Economics teachers, postsecondary

25-1064

Geography teachers, postsecondary

25-1065

Political science teachers, postsecondary

25-1067

Sociology teachers, postsecondary

25-1082

Library science teachers, postsecondary

25-1111

Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, postsecondary

25-1112

Law teachers, postsecondary

25-1113

Social work teachers, postsecondary

25-1192

Family and consumer sciences teachers, postsecondary

25-1193

Recreation and fitness studies teachers, postsecondary

25-2023

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

25-4011

Archivists

25-4012

Curators

25-4013

Museum technicians and conservators

25-9021

Farm and home management educators

27-1012

Craft artists

27-1013

Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators

27-1027

Set and exhibit designers

27-2021

Athletes and sports competitors

27-2023

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

27-2031

Dancers

27-2032

Choreographers

27-2041

Music directors and composers

27-3023

News analysts, reporters, and journalists

27-3092

Court reporters and simultaneous captioners

27-4014

Sound engineering technicians

29-1022

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

29-1023

Orthodontists

29-1024

Prosthodontists

29-1081

Podiatrists

29-1124

Radiation therapists

29-1125

Recreational therapists

29-1128

Exercise physiologists

29-1161

Nurse midwives

29-1181

Audiologists

29-1218

Obstetricians and gynecologists

29-2033

Nuclear medicine technologists

29-2091

Orthotists and prosthetists

29-2092

Hearing aid specialists

29-9092

Genetic counselors

31-2012

Occupational therapy aides

33-2021

Fire inspectors and investigators

33-2022

Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists

33-3041

Parking enforcement workers

33-3052

Transit and railroad police

33-9011

Animal control workers

33-9031

Gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators

35-2013

Cooks, private household

39-2011

Animal trainers

39-3012

Gambling and sports book writers and runners

39-3021

Motion picture projectionists

39-3092

Costume attendants

39-3093

Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants

39-4011

Embalmers

39-5011

Barbers

39-5091

Makeup artists, theatrical and performance

39-5093

Shampooers

39-7012

Travel guides

41-9012

Models

41-9091

Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers

43-2021

Telephone operators

43-3041

Gambling cage workers

43-4021

Correspondence clerks

43-9031

Desktop publishers

43-9081

Proofreaders and copy markers

43-9111

Statistical assistants

47-2011

Boilermakers

47-2022

Stonemasons

47-2042

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles

47-2043

Floor sanders and finishers

47-2053

Terrazzo workers and finishers

47-2072

Pile driver operators

47-2082

Tapers

47-2142

Paperhangers

47-2171

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers

47-2231

Solar photovoltaic installers

47-3014

Helpers--painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons

47-3016

Helpers--roofers

47-4061

Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators

47-4091

Segmental pavers

47-5011

Derrick operators, oil and gas

47-5012

Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

47-5023

Earth drillers, except oil and gas

47-5032

Explosives workers, ordnance handling experts, and blasters

47-5041

Continuous mining machine operators

47-5043

Roof bolters, mining

47-5044

Loading and moving machine operators, underground mining

47-5051

Rock splitters, quarry

47-5081

Helpers--extraction workers

49-2021

Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

49-2091

Avionics technicians

49-2092

Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers

49-2093

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transportation equipment

49-2096

Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles

49-3052

Motorcycle mechanics

49-3091

Bicycle repairers

49-3092

Recreational vehicle service technicians

49-9045

Refractory materials repairers, except brickmasons

49-9061

Camera and photographic equipment repairers

49-9063

Musical instrument repairers and tuners

49-9064

Watch and clock repairers

49-9081

Wind turbine service technicians

49-9092

Commercial divers

49-9094

Locksmiths and safe repairers

49-9095

Manufactured building and mobile home installers

49-9097

Signal and track switch repairers

51-2021

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers

51-2061

Timing device assemblers and adjusters

51-4022

Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

51-4032

Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

51-4035

Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

51-4051

Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders

51-4052

Pourers and casters, metal

51-4061

Model makers, metal and plastic

51-4062

Patternmakers, metal and plastic

51-4071

Foundry mold and coremakers

51-4192

Layout workers, metal and plastic

51-4194

Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners

51-6041

Shoe and leather workers and repairers

51-6042

Shoe machine operators and tenders

51-6051

Sewers, hand

51-6061

Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders

51-6062

Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders

51-6091

Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers

51-6092

Fabric and apparel patternmakers

51-7021

Furniture finishers

51-7031

Model makers, wood

51-7032

Patternmakers, wood

51-8011

Nuclear power reactor operators

51-8012

Power distributors and dispatchers

51-8092

Gas plant operators

51-9031

Cutters and trimmers, hand

51-9051

Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders

51-9082

Medical appliance technicians

51-9123

Painting, coating, and decorating workers

51-9191

Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders

51-9192

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

51-9193

Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders

51-9194

Etchers and engravers

53-1041

Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

53-2022

Airfield operations specialists

53-3011

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

53-4013

Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, and hostlers

53-4022

Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators and locomotive firers

53-4041

Subway and streetcar operators

53-5022

Motorboat operators

53-5031

Ship engineers

53-6011

Bridge and lock tenders

53-6041

Traffic technicians

53-7031

Dredge operators

53-7041

Hoist and winch operators

53-7071

Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators

53-7072

Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers

53-7073

Wellhead pumpers

53-7121

Tank car, truck, and ship loaders

Note: Predetermined occupations represent those with the lowest number of employed workers in the occupation across all ownerships based on 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) estimates.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Requirements Survey.

Each sampled establishment has an assigned six-digit industry code from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). When a single physical location encompasses two or more distinct economic activities, the industry code assigned is based on the establishment's principal product or products, whether produced or distributed, or the principal services rendered by the establishment. When determining the principal product or service rendered, employment is used to determine the primary business activity and assign an industry code. When the primary activity cannot be determined by employment then it's determined based on the revenue generated.

The sampling frame, or universe, is the list of establishments from which the survey sample is selected. The ORS establishment sample is drawn from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and units reporting to the Railroad Retirement Board.1

Job selection

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) field economists use a four-step process to select and classify jobs for which data are to be collected from the sampled establishment.

Step 1

The first step in the process differs depending on establishment ownership. For private industry establishments, the ORS utilizes an occupational sample that is drawn from a modeled occupational frame created by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.2 This frame informs the selection of occupations within establishments by joining industry information from the QCEW with occupational information from the OEWS. A modeled occupational frame is not available for state and local government establishments due to data constraints.

Field economists are given a prioritized list of six-digit occupational codes for each private industry sampled establishment. The number of jobs selected for data collection is based on the establishment's employment size at the time the sample was drawn, according to the criteria on exhibit 2, and the projected number of occupations at the establishment from the modeled occupational frame. These occupations are listed in priority order, with any predetermined occupations listed first. Field economists determine whether any of the listed occupations exist in the sampled establishment. Field economists stop matching when they reach the targeted number of selected jobs or when the end of the list is reached. This job selection method is used to ensure that occupations with lower probability of selection are included in the survey.

If none of the occupations on the prioritized list are present in the establishment, the field economist collects data by using probability sampling of occupations (PSO). The field economist uses the PSO technique to randomly select jobs for which data are to be collected. This process ensures that the probability of selecting a given job is proportional to the number of workers in the job at the establishment. This process is used to select jobs from state and local government establishments.

Exhibit 2. Number of sampled jobs based on establishment employment
Number of employees Number of sampled jobs

1-49

Up to 4

50-249

6

250 or more

8

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Requirements Survey.

Step 2

Field economists classify the sampled jobs into occupations based on the workers' actual job duties and responsibilities, not based on their job titles or specific education. For example, an employee trained as an engineer, but is working as a drafter, is reported as a drafter. Field economists classify employees who perform the duties of two or more distinct occupations as working in the occupation that requires the highest level of skill or in the occupation in which the employee spends the most time, if there is no measurable difference in skill requirements. Each sampled job is classified by the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system at the six-digit level of detail and by the O*NET system at the eight-digit level.

ORS classifies sampled jobs found in establishments into the most detailed occupational code available. Federal statistical agencies are mandated to use the SOC system for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating occupational or labor market data.

Step 3

Field economists obtain work status (full-time or part-time) and work schedule for the selected job. The work status is based on the responding establishment's definition for full- and part-time and is not based on an hour threshold. The work schedule is used to determine the duration levels and reflects the usual expected hours in a day, days in a week, and weeks in the year. The job requirements in the establishment are for all workers in the selected job with the same work status and work schedule. For definitions of occupational characteristics, see the Concepts section.

Step 4

Field economists evaluate the job to determine the work level of its duties and responsibilities using a point-factor system, which is based on the National Compensation Survey.3 The purpose of this step is to ensure that the job requirements of all workers in an occupation are the same. The work levels are determined by a system of points based on the following factors:

  • Knowledge
  • Job controls and complexity
  • Contacts
  • Physical environment

Each factor consists of several points and a description. Field economists evaluate the duties and responsibilities of the job, taking into account the work performed, skills needed, and education and training required for the job. Points are then totaled to determine the overall work level for the job. Generally, the greater the impact, complexity, or difficulty of the factor, the higher the number of points assigned, and the higher the work level.

For some occupations, such as those listed in exhibit 3, a work level cannot be determined because the four factor points are not available.

Exhibit 3. Jobs that cannot be classified by work level
SOC 2018 Occupation title

11-1031

Legislators

23-1021

Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers

23-1022

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

23-1023

Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates

27-1013

Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators

27-2011

Actors

27-2012

Producers and directors

27-2021

Athletes and sports competitors

27-2022

Coaches and scouts

27-2023

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

27-2031

Dancers

27-2032

Choreographers

27-2041

Music directors and composers

27-2042

Musicians and singers

27-2091

Disc jockeys, except radio

27-2099

Entertainers and performers, sports and related workers, all other

27-3011

Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys

41-9012

Models

Note: Work level is defined as the difference in average hourly wages based on a range of skills, knowledge, and duties within an occupation.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Requirements Survey.

Notes
1 The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Handbook of Methods provides information about the data sources, design, methodology, and availability of data
2 The Occupational Employment and Wages Statistics chapter in the Handbook of Methods provides information about the data sources, design, methodology, and availability of data.

Last Modified Date: May 03, 2021