What is ISEC-08 and how does it relate to EGP and ESEC?


Why do we need a differentiation between professionals and managers in classes I and II?



What is ISEC-08 and how does it relate to EGP and ESEC?


ISEC-08 stands for the International Socio-Economic Classes 2008 and is a categorization of occupational information coded in the ISCO-08 and information on status-in-employment into a 13 category social class scheme than contains well-known social class schemes as EGP (named after Erikson, Goldthorpe and Portocarero, 1979) and ESEC (European Socio-Economic Classification as proposed by Rose and Harrison, 2009) as special cases. The ISEC categories are:


I-a Higher level professionals 1

I-b Higher level managers and entrepreneurs 2


II-a Lower level professionals 3

II-b Lower level managers 4


III-a Clerical Routine Non-manual Workers 5

III-b Sales and Service Routine Non-manual Workers 6


IV-a Small Self-employed with employees 7

IV-b Small Self-employed without employers 8

IV-c Small Self-employed in agriculture 9


V Manual Supervisors 10


VI Skilled Manual Workers 11


VII-a Semi- and Unskilled Manual Workers 12

VII-b Agricultural Labourers 13


The original scheme used by Goldthorpe (1987) for British data was restricted to the roman numerals and contained seven classes: (1+2) (3+4) (5+6) (7+8+9) (10) (11) (12+13). For their comparative work in Britain, France and Sweden Erikson, Goldthorpe and Portocarero (1979) differentiated this into a 10-category scheme, by separating farmers from non-farmers, and by separating IV-a and IV-b. In later work (Erikson & Goldthorpe, 1992) a differentiation between III-a and III- b was proposed.


This scheme (and various condensations) has been widely used in comparative social mobility research and is best known as the EGP scheme. Erikson & Goldthorpe have never produced a generally applicable way to code the scheme in data. Using documentation on how the original British social classes were constructed and in consultation with Robert Erikson and John Goldthorpe, Ganzeboom and associates produced an SPSS module that derived EGP classes from data that are coded in the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1968 and contain sufficient information on status-in-employment (see below) that was first published (and made available electronically) by Ganzeboom, Luijkx & Treiman (1989); a further refinement appeared in Ganzeboom, de Graaf & Treiman (1992). This ISCOEGP recode was generalized to ISCO-88 by Ganzeboom & Treiman (1996, 2003).


Various authors have critically examined the ISCOEGP recode and proposed modifications. Most recently, Rose & Harrison (2006, 2009) have proposed a European Socio-Economic Classification (ESEC) that is little else than a scaled-down version of the 11 EGP categories: ESEC merges VII-a and VII-b, and does not make the distinctions between classes IV-a and IV-b.


ISEC-08 generalizes this work by accomplishing the following task:

        Further differentiate the EGP/ESEC classes I and II in a professional and managerial segment.

        Critically examine amendments proposed by critics and implement when found valid.

        Transpose the recode for ISCO-88 to the new ISCO-08. (A transposition to ISCO-68 in pending).

Users can derive various versions of EGP and ESEC by recoding the 13 ISEC classes at their own will.


Why do we need a differentiation between professionals and managers in classes I and II?


A further differentiations of class I and II is introduced for the following reasons:

        In modern economies classes I and II combined tend to be very large, containing up to 50% of the labor force.

        Empirical literature shows that researchers often combine I and II because the underlying occupational structure does not allow the distinction.

        Other researchers have maintained the distinction, but found that class I and II are actually quite close to one another, in particular in social mobility patterns.

        The distinction between professionals and managers has been shown to be very distinctive in much previous research that documents both a strong differentiation in mobility patterns, but also different political orientations and life styles. Some of this research suggests that collapsing I-a and II-a, and I-b and II-b is actually more appropriate than the distinction between I and II.

        The differentiation between professionals and managers is also found in other classical work on social mobility, in particular the 14 categories that were used by Blau & Duncan (1967) in their landmark study on the USA in 1962.