Structure of earnings survey 2010 (earn_ses2010)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit F3: Labour market
1.5. Contact mail address

5, Rue Alphonse Weicker L-2721 Luxembourg

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 31/12/2012
2.2. Metadata last posted 31/12/2012
2.3. Metadata last update 31/12/2012

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Structure of Earnings Survey (SES) is a 4-yearly survey which provides EU-wide harmonised structural data on gross earnings, hours paid and annual days of paid holiday leave, which are collected every four years under Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 concerning structural statistics on earnings and on labour costs, and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1738/2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 1916/2000 as regards the definition and transmission of information on the structure of earnings. The objective of this legislation is so that National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) provide accurate and harmonised data on earnings in EU Member States and other countries for policy-making and research purposes.

The SES 2010 provides detailed and comparable information on relationships between the level of hourly, monthly and annual remuneration, personal characteristics of employees (sex, age, occupation, length of service, highest educational level attained, etc.) and their employer (economic activity, size and economic control of the enterprise).

Regional data is also available for some countries and regional metadata is identical to that provided for national data.

3.2. Classification system

The "economic activity" is coded in NACE Rev. 2 (General industrial classification of economic activities within the European Communities) whereas the "occupation" is coded according to the Commission Recommendation of 29 October 2009 on the use of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08).

Information on the 'Highest successfully completed level of education and training' variable is classified using the International Standard Classification of Education, 1997 version (ISCED 97).

Regional breakdown is based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) reference year 2010. Detailed NUTS classifications are available for EU Member States as well as for EFTA and Candidate Countries

3.3. Coverage - sector

The statistics cover all economic activities defined in NACE Rev. 2 sections B to S. NACE Section O (Public administration and defence; compulsory social security) is optional, however covered by most countries.

The enterprises included employ at least 10 employees and the size classes (corresponding to the number of employees) available are 10 to 49, 50 to 249, 250 to 499, 500 to 999 and more than 1 000. The size class of enterprises employing less than 10 employees (1 to 9) is optional and covered by some countries.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Employees are all persons who have a direct employment contract with the enterprise or local unit and receive remuneration, irrespective of the type of work performed, the number of hours worked (full or part-time) and the duration of the contract (fixed or indefinite).

Mean annual gross earnings also cover all 'non-standard payments', i.e. payments not occurring in each pay period, such as: 13th or 14th month payments, holiday bonuses, quarterly or annual company bonuses and annual payments in kind.

Mean monthly gross earnings in the reference month cover remuneration in cash paid before any tax deductions and social security contributions payable by wage earners and retained by the employer, and are restricted to gross earnings which are paid in each pay period during the reference month.

Mean hourly gross earnings are defined as gross earnings in the reference month divided by the number of hours paid during the same period.

Number of hours paid includes all normal and overtime hours worked and remunerated by the employer during the reference month. Hours not worked but nevertheless paid are counted as 'paid hours' (e.g. for annual leave, public holidays, paid sick leave, paid vocational training, paid special leave, etc.).

3.5. Statistical unit

The compilation of structural statistics on earnings is based on local units and enterprises, as defined in Council Regulation (EEC) No 696/93, and provides information on employees in enterprises with 10 or more employees classified by size and economic activity. Information for employees in enterprises with fewer than 10 employees is optional.

The statistics cover all activities defined in NACE Rev. 2 sections B to S (excluding O) for enterprises with at least 10 employees.

3.6. Statistical population

The SES 2010 statistics refer to enterprises with at least 10 employees in the areas of economic activities defined by NACE Rev. 2 sections B to S excluding O.


The inclusion of NACE section O is optional, as well as the inclusion of enterprises with less than 10 employees. 

3.7. Reference area

The data cover EU-Member States, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

EU aggregates are available for: EU27, EU25, EU15, EA17 and EA13.

3.8. Coverage - Time


3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Euro (EUR), Purchasing Power Standard (PPS), Percentage (%) and absolute number of persons.

5. Reference Period Top

The reference year is equal to the calendar year (2010).

The reference month is October for the majority of the countries. The choice of another month is accepted as long as the month is justified as being representative.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

EU-Member States and (if available and comparable) other European countries participating in the four-yearly Structure of Earnings Survey according to the;

Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 of 9 March 1999 concerning structural statistics on earnings and on labour costs

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1738/2005 of 21 October 2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 1916/2000 as regards the definition and transmission of information on the structure of earnings

Regional data according to Commission Regulation (EC) 1059/2003

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

In the SES, information about individual entities (employees and enterprises) is collected. The safety of these microdata has to be guaranteed to make sure that individual entities cannot be recognised through inspection of released data. The goal of disclosure control is to disseminate statistical information in such a way that individual information is sufficiently protected against recognition of the subjects to which it refers, while at the same time providing as much information as possible.

Only tabular data have therefore been published. In order to limit the disclosure risk of these tables the following measures have been applied:

  • Region: restricted to the national level;
  • Economic activity: restricted to NACE Rev. 2, one digit level;
  • Size of the enterprise: published in size classes of employee numbers;
  • Age: restricted to 5 size classes (less than 30 years, 30-39 years, 40-49 years, 50-59 years, 60+ years);
  • Occupation published at ISCO-08, one digit level.

The anonymisation method for SES consists of two primary confidentiality rules:

- minimum frequency rule;

- dominance rule

Secondary confidentiality rules are applied as additional protection to protect data from recalculation.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Not applicable.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

See Eurostat website. 

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

The conditions for SES microdata access are stated in the Regulation (EC) No 1104/2006 of 18 July 2006 amending Regulation (EC) No 831/2002 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 322/97 on Community Statistics, concerning access to confidential data for scientific purposes. For details see Access to microdata.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

SES 2010: Eurostat's arrangements for implementing the Council Regulation 530/1999, the Commission Regulations 1916/2000 and 1738/2005

11.2. Quality management - documentation

For the SES 2010 synthesis and national quality reports, refer to link in annex.

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

According to Regulation (EC) 530/1999 national authorities shall ensure that the results reflect the true situation of the total population of units with a sufficient degree of representativity. National authorities are therefore obliged to provide a Quality Report containing all relevant information to enable the quality of the statistics to be evaluated.

Refer to SES2010 synthesis and national quality reports in annex.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

Upon transmission to Eurostat, SES microdata are checked for completeness and consistency.

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Among others, the most important and frequent users of SES are mainly; research centres, universities and students, the media, social partners and trade unions, private companies, national public institutions as well as international institutions. The large sample size of the SES makes it a unique source of information in which individual earnings can be linked with the characteristics of individual employees (sex, age, education level etc.) as well as to the characteristics of the enterprise they work for (economic sector, size of the enterprise, location etc.).

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

The SES tables published on Eurostat’s website are considered to be well followed by our users as between October 2012 and April 2013, the number of hits associated to the SES2010 (earn_ses10) datasets recorded an average of 1500 hits each month. Datasets providing information on earnings by sex, economic activity and collective pay agreement as well as earnings in quantiles are the most looked for, with information on earnings by level of education and geographic location to a lower extent.

13.3. Completeness

Refer to national quality reports link in annex.

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

In the majority of the countries, a two-stage stratified sample technique is adopted; first a random sample of enterprises / local units, followed by a sample of employees within the selected enterprise / local unit. 

For further details, refer to national quality reports in annex.


14.2. Sampling error

Refer to national quality reports in annex.

14.3. Non-sampling error

Refer to national quality reports in annex.

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

Refer to national quality reports in annex.

15.2. Punctuality

Refer to national quality reports in annex.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability of the SES data across national borders may be affected by the use of different observation units and definitions, methods or classification schemes, i.e. by deviations between national and community concepts. Geographic comparability may also be affected by new regional classification (NUTS).

For an overview on geographical comparability, refer to the synthesis of quality reports in annex.

16.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time may be affected by new definitions and classifications used in coding the SES data (NACE, NUTS, ISCED, ISCO).

For an overview on comparability over time, refer to the synthesis of quality reports in annex.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

For further details refer to the synthesis of quality reports in annex.

17.2. Coherence - internal

For further details refer to the synthesis of quality reports in annex.

18. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

Apart from adjustments following internal checks, the data are ccepted directly as communicated by the NSI. Revisions only occur rarely.

19.2. Data revision - practice

If necessary, after running a series of data validation checks, countries are asked to revise their data until it is considered fit for publishing.

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

The data collection for LCS and SES can be obtained from 'tailor-made' questionnaires, existing surveys, administrative data or a combination of such sources, which provide the equivalent information. While accepting a degree of flexibility in the means employed for collecting the survey data, the information obtained must be of acceptable quality and be comparable between European countries.

20.2. Frequency of data collection


20.3. Data collection

The national surveys are generally conducted on the basis of a two-stage random sampling approach of enterprises or local units (first stage) and employees (second stage).

20.4. Data validation

Data validation consists of global checks and plausibility checks. Global checks are necessary to ensure that complete data is received for microdata records. For each country, all microdata records should contain data for all mandatory variables. Missing mandatory data or codes are not accepted. Concerning optional variables each country decides which of these it is able to supply. Furthermore, plausibility checks on all variables were done to ensure that the data are reasonable and consistent with other variables. Possible deviations are reported by countries in their national Quality Report transmitted to Eurostat. For further details on the plausibility checks implemented by Eurostat are provided in the implementing arrangements document which is approved and sent to all countries prior to each round (Validation level 2).

20.5. Data compilation

EU aggregated are compiled, with the number of employees per country being the weighting factor for each individual country.

20.6. Adjustment

Not applicable.

21. Comment Top

Not available.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top