Socio-economic group

Socio-economic group, or SEG, is a classification that aims to bring together people with similar social and economic status.

For many sociologists, SEG is seen as a better measure than Social Class for social scientific purposes. It is a measure of employment status rather than 'skill' or 'social standing'. It comprises 17 groups, three of which are subdivided, as follows:

1.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc. - large establishments
1.2 Managers in central and local government, industry, commerce, etc. - large establishments
2.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc. - small establishments
2.2 Managers in industry, commerce, etc. - small establishments
3 Professional workers - self-employed
4 Professional workers - employees
5.1 Ancillary workers and artists
5.2 Foremen and supervisors non-manual
6 Junior non-manual workers
7 Personal service workers
8 Foremen and supervisors - manual
9 Skilled manual workers
10 Semi-skilled manual workers
11 Unskilled manual workers
12 Own account workers (other than professional)
13 Farmers - employers and managers
14 Farmers - own account
15 Agricultural workers
16 Members of armed forces
17 Inadequately described and not stated occupations

SEG is derived from occupational group, employment status and size of establishment. Occupations are coded to groups based on whichever classification scheme is in use at that time. The SEG for an individual is calculated using a lookup table, which tabulates occupational groups against a combined variable for employment status and size of establishment.

It is important to note that SEG is not ordinally ranked, so it makes no sense to talk about moving 'up' and 'down' the classification.

In the LS, SEGs have been coded at each census (except 2001) based on the information on occupation, employment status and establishment size recorded on the census form. The variables are SEG7 for 1971, SEG8 for 1981 and SEG909 for 1991.