The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) publishes job-related information on physical demands; environmental conditions; education, training, and experience; as well as cognitive and mental requirements. The job requirements reflect those necessary for workers to perform critical tasks in support of the critical job functions, and not the capabilities of individual workers.
ORS data can be accessed in a number of ways. This factsheet will cover the following data retrieval methods and resources:
The first tool we will introduce provides a simple process for retrieving a specific data series from the ORS database. This data tool will allow you to retrieve the estimate you are interested in through selecting specific elements such as the occupation and job requirement. For instance, if you were interested in the percent of web developers with telework available, you could use the “One Screen” tool to select those specific elements and retrieve the exact estimate you were interested in.
Located on the ORS Databases Page, the green “One Screen” icon can be selected to access this tool.
Once selected, the One Screen tool will open in a new window. After selecting the option you are interested in for each of the categories, you may select “Get Data” at the bottom right corner of the screen, or “Add to selection” on the left if you would like to make additional selections. Once you have selected “Get Data”, the tool will open a new tab in your browser displaying the selected data. In the example we mentioned above for finding the number of web developers with telework available, you would select “web developers” for the occupation and “percent of workers, with telework available” (under cognitive and mental requirements), then retrieve that specific estimate in a new tab by clicking the “Get Data” button.
In this section, we will cover some of the other data tools that have not yet been covered. On the ORS Databases Page, you will see a few data tools next to the “One Screen” tool we discussed earlier.
Top Picks – This option provides pre-selected series that have been determined to be of interest to a general audience and are evaluated and modified based on user interests each year.
Data Finder – This tool allows for a simple text search to retrieve the latest estimates. You can search by specific occupations and by job requirements.
Multi Screen – Similar to the one screen tool, this tool allows for a user to retrieve a specific series by selecting various criteria. The tool uses multiple screens when selecting occupations and job requirements and displays the series available in each screen based on selections made in previous screens.
Text Files – This option can be used to view a variety of information in the form of a text file, such as the estimates, category and additive codes, footnotes, or other information.
The next resource we would like to highlight is the ORS Complete Dataset, which is located in the “More Tools” section of the ORS Databases Page (just below the “One Screen” tool mentioned above). You may find this to be a more useful resource than the “One Screen” tool if you are interested in seeing the same requirement across multiple occupations or multiple requirements for a single occupation.
The complete ORS dataset is available for download as an XLSX file and contains all available ORS data in the same place. The file has been formatted to provide information on the dataset and allow users to filter the data based on their areas of interest and as an XLSX file, formulas can be used to manipulate or draw new information from the dataset. After opening the dataset, you will see that the first two tabs contain information about the program, such as the Technical note, definitions of column headers, and a key for footnote codes. The third tab contains the complete dataset. Each column header can be used to filter the data, so if you are interested in a specific occupation, you could filter column D to only view estimates for that occupation.
Some data users find it helpful to view the dataset as a “pivot table” which allows for users to see multiple combinations of requirements for an occupation at the same time. If you are interested in this, please see the ORS Pivot Table Guide.
An additional data resource available is the ORS Occupational Profiles section of the website. The occupational profiles provide an overview of some of the requirements for each occupational group, some select detailed occupations, as well as the “all workers” group. Each profile provides a definition of the occupation as well as some tables and charts displaying data for each of the four requirement categories. These profiles can be a useful tool to get an overview of the requirements for an occupation, and to familiarize yourself with ORS data.
The following are a few additional resources related to ORS data:
ORS Factsheets page: contains information regarding how estimates are structured and defined through various informational pages that outline specific requirements or other elements of ORS data.
ORS Handbook of Methods: provides information on the ORS survey such as key terms, data sources and confidentiality, survey design, and calculation methodology.
ORS Additional Publications page: includes various types of BLS publications using ORS data. There are a variety of resources ranging from short articles to more in depth research papers that utilize ORS data.
ORS Research page: provides links to various research papers originating within as well as outside the BLS.