The survey was undertaken bi-annually from 1965-1985 by the South African Department of Manpower (now the South African Department of Labour) and the standard form used the department's own classification scheme. In 1996 the name changed to the Occupational Survey. In 1998 it was replaced by the Survey of Occupations by Race and Gender, but this was discontinued after the pilot study in 1998. The two series of Manpower Surveys are not always comparable. Data users need to read the data quality notes provided for further details on data comparability.
The Manpower Survey is a survey of enterprises in South Africa that collected industry and occupation data by gender and race for each enterprise. It covered both the private and public sector, but excluded workers in the informal sector and agricultural sector, and domestic workers in private households. Enterprise details for the survey sample were obtained from government sources, and the survey instrument was a form mailed to enterprise managers.
The dataset available from DataFirst is not at firm level, but is rather the industry and occupation data by gender and race available from the survey reports. This country-level data is from the Manpower Surveys conducted in 1965-1994, unearthed in a project to find and share historical South African microdata. The data was obtained with the assistance of Lucia Lotter, Anneke Jordaan and Marie-Lousie van Wyk from the Human Sciences Research Council's Research Use and Impact Assessment Department. The project was made possible by an exploratory grant obtained by Andrew Kerr and Martin Wittenberg of DataFirst from the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) research initiative. PEDL is a joint research initiative of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Uk Department For International Development (DFID). It aims to develop a research programme focusing on private-sector development in low-income countries.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Individuals and institutions
Version 1.2: Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed distribution
Version 1 of the dataset was obtained by DataFirst in March 2013. In version 1.1 of this dataset DataFirst has merged the data files and created variable labels, and provided documentation for the surveys. Version 1.2 was released on 29 June 2015. Version 1.2 has the following changes
The 780 values in the "occupation" variable have been labelled
The "year" variable is now a 4 digit date.
The variable "afdeling" has been translated to English as "section".
Variable G9 has been deleted as it wasn't clear what this variable represents in the data.
The Manpower Survey records employment by race and gender for occupations in both private and public enterprises in the formal non-agricultural business sector. It excludes domestic workers in private households.
The surveys conducted by the Department of Labour between 1965 and 1985 have the following industry groupings:
4. Food, beverage and tobacco
7. Wood and furniture
10. Rubber products
11. Leather and shoe
12. Glass, cement, bricks
13. Metal and engineering
14. Motor industry
15. Jewellers and opticians
17. Financial organisations
19. Local authorities
20. Hotels and clubs
21. Other personal services
22. Medical, professional, education and related services
23. Government, SAR&H (South African Railways and Harbours) and administrations
The surveys conducted by the Central Statistical Service (now Statistics SA) were grouped by the non-agricultural industrial sectors and sub-groups in the Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (SIC) 5th edition http://www.statssa.gov.za/additional_services/sic/sic.htm
Occupational breakdown within these industrial groups was done according to the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) http://www.statssa.gov.za/additional_services/Codelists/Occupational.pdf
The survey had national coverage, but excluded the "independent" " homelands" of Bophuthatswana and Transkei (excluded from 1979) Venda (1981) and the Ciskei (1983).
The universe of the survey were enterprises in the formal non-agricultureal sector in South Africa
Producers and sponsors
South African Department of Labour
Government of South Africa
Central Statistical Service (CSS) (now Statistics South Africa)
Government of South Africa
Project for Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries
The survey sample is based on lists of companies obtained from the databases of the Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund of the South African Department of Labour) and the South African Tourism Board. During the time the surveys were conducted by the Department of labour (1965-1985), the sample of companies was 250,000. The survey was taken over by the Central Statistical Service (now Statistics South Africa) in 1987 who rationalised the sample to 12,800 companies in 1989, and later to 8500.
The sample excludes domestic workers in private household, and workers in the agricultural and informal sectors. The firms were classified into industries, based on the Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities. Where these firms consisted of more than one establishment in more than one sector the firm was classified according to the sector in which it is predominantly engaged. Thus, although workers in the agricultural sector are not covered these may be included in firm data for those firms which include more than one establishment, and where one of the establishments is involved in agricultural production.
Entities in the "independent" " homelands" were excluded from the survey. These included Bophuthatswana and Transkei (excluded from 1979) Venda (1981) and the Ciskei (1983).
Since the questionnaire was completed by company managers, the response rate of the sample is very high (around 90 per cent)
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Mail Questionnaire [mail]
Data Collection Notes
The questionnaire for the survey was a form mailed to enterprise managers to complete and return.
The 1965-1985 questionnaire from the Department of Labour has 5 Sections:
Section A: To be completed for all employees except artisans, apprentices and “Bantu” building workers
Section B: To be completed for male artisans and apprentices only
Section C: To be completed for women artisans and apprentices only
Section D: To be completed for “Bantu” building workers only (“skilled Bantu building workers and learners registered in terms of the Bantu Building Workers' Act”)
Section E: To be completed for all employees (total number of employees)
The 1987-1994 questionnaire from the Central Statistical Service has 4 Sections:
Section 1: To be completed for all employees except artisans, apprentices
Section 2: To be completed for artisans only (men and women)
Section 3: To be completed for apprentices only (men and women)
Section 4: To be completed for all employees (total number of employees)
The variable <afdeling> ("section" in Afrikaans) in the data represents the sections of the questionnaire. However, this variable only has 3 values. It is not clear how these 3 categories have been constructed from data from sections in the two different questionnaires.
The Manpower survey enables investigations of long-term changes in the occupational and racial division of labour during the period 1965-1994. It is the only data source for this period that distinguishes artisans and apprentices from other manual workers, which allows analysis of these occupations over time. However, the data is not reliable at disaggregated levels because of the following:
(1) Both agriculture and the informal sector are excluded from the survey universe. These sectors are major employers in the South African economy.
(2) Domestic workers in private households are also excluded from the sample.
(3) The survey does not cover the unemployed and is therefore not representative of the economically active population.
(4) Although this is an occupational survey, the information on occupations is derived from samples based on total employment within industries.
(5) A new sample was drawn by the Central Statistical Service when they took over the Manpower Survey from the Department of Manpower in 1987, causing a break in the series.
Finally, the variable <afdeling> ("section" in Afrikaans) in the data refers the sections of the questionnaire. However, this variable only has 3 values, which do not match the 5 sections in the DOL questionnaire or the 4 sections in the CSS version of the questionnaire (see the Questionnaires metadata for more on this) It is not clear how these 3 categories have been constructed from data from sections in the two different questionnaires.
CODING OF INDUSTRIES
The Standard Industrial Classification codelist used to code industries in the survey seems to have been the ISIC revision 2.The codelist is provided here with the data, and is also available from the United Nations Statistics Division's website, at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/cr/registry/regdnld.asp?Lg=1
Central Statistical Service (now Statistics South Africa) & Department of Labour. Manpower Survey 1965-1994, [dataset]. Version 1.2. Pretoria: DOL & CSS [producers], 1995. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/0wkh-sn59