The survey was undertaken by Professor Lawrence Edwards of the School of Economics, University of Cape Town, under the Project Matched Employee-Employer Panel-Data for Labour Market Analysis in Zimbabwe. The Project was funded by IZA/DFID as part of the IZA/DFID Growth and Labour Markets in Low Income Countries Programme and administered by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town. This project addresses some of the data constraints that inhibit appropriate research and policy formulation on Zimbabwean manufacturing. The objective of the project was to build a panel of firm data in Zimbabwe that covers various years over the period 1993 to 2015 and to add a matched survey of employees covering the period 2015 to 2016. The basis of the firm panel is the Regional Programme on Enterprise Development (RPED) surveys of manufacturing firms in Zimbabwe conducted in in 1993, 1994, and 1995.
The first component of the project was the tracing and re-surveying of the 203 manufacturing firms surveyed under the RPED programme in 1994. Of these firms, 78 firms (representing 38.4% of the 203 firms) were still surviving and operating in the same business in 2015. 40 firms (19.7%) had closed down. The rest include firms that merged (8 firms or 3.9%), or firms for which no information on operational status was found (32 or 15.8%). 39 of the surviving firms were successfully re-interviewed. The second component of the project comprised a survey of formal manufacturing firms in Zimbabwe. The collection of firm survey data took place over the period August - December 2015. A total of 195 registered manufacturing firms were surveyed in Bulawayo (51), Harare (119), Mutare (10) and Gweru/Kwekwe (15) in 5 manufacturing industries (Food, Wood products, metal products, chemicals, other). The third component was a survey of informal manufacturing firms located in Bulawayo and Harare. A total of 131 informal firms were surveyed in October - December 2015. Between October and December 2016, the informal firm owners were re-contacted telephonically to provide information on amongst other variables, firm performance (sales, raw material costs, investment), employment and income. A total of 100 informal firm owners were re-interviewed. The final component of the project was the collection of data from workers in the formal and informal firms surveyed. A total of 1385 workers in formal firms and 173 workers in informal firms were surveyed in October - December 2015. Between October and December 2016, 1198 of these workers (combined formal and informal) (77% success rate) were re-interviewed telephonically from South Africa. This project will enable a new body of evidence on how past structural changes in the Zimbabwean economy during the period of economic crisis affected labour markets, as well as how future growth and structural change link to labour market outcomes. In collecting, providing and analysing the data, the project aims to build a closer synergy between evidence and policy formulation in Zimbabwe.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Individuals and institutions
v1: Edited, anonymised data for public distribution
The survey collected data on the following:
Firm data - Entrepreneur background, Production, Sales and Costs, Assets and Investments, Suppliers and clients, Labour Information, Financial Markets, Infrastructure, Obstacles and Constraints
Employee data - Employee demography and background, Education, Parent education, Wages and Allowances, Job characteristics, Household information, Employment History, Other source of income.
The survey covered the towns of Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, and Gweru/Kwekwe in Zimbabwe
Data is at the level of individual enterprise
The survey covered manufacturing enterprises in the formal and informal sectors
Producers and sponsors
University of Cape Town
Institute for the Study of Labor
UK Department for International Development
The basic sample design used was a two-stage stratified cluster design. For formal manufacturing sector firms a stratified sampling procedure was used with size, industry and
location strata. The desired sample size for the survey was set at 240 manufacturing firms. The population for the survey consisted of manufacturing firms with at least 5 employees each.
Three different size strata were defined for the survey, namely 'small' (5-9 employees), 'medium' (10-99 employees), and 'large' (100+ employees).
Industry strata: The survey covered all manufacturing industries and distinguished between the following 6 industry strata based on 2-digit ISIC Rev.2:
31 - Manufacture of Food, Beverages and Tobacco
32 - Textile, Wearing Apparel and Leather Industries
33 - Manufacture of Wood and Wood Products, Including Furniture
35 - Manufacture of Chemicals, Petroleum, Coal, Rubber and Plastic Products
38 - Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery and Equipment
34,36,37,39 - Other manufacturing
Location strata: The survey imposed the following location strata:
(i) Harare and surrounds (towns within 50 km from Harare.)
(iii) Gweru, Kwekwe and Redcliff (in Midlands)
(iv) Mutare (in Manicaland)
The sample oversampled firms outside the two location strata Harare and surrounds and Bulawayo, such that at least 20 firms were included in each of the location strata of Manicaland (Gweru / Kwekwe / Redcliff) and Midlands (Mutare). The sample also was designed to have an equal distribution of 80 firms each across the three size strata (5-19, 20-99, 100+ employees). This results in an oversampling of large firms and undersampling of small firms.
See the documentation on sampling for the full information.
For informal sector manufacturing sector firms, multi-stage sampling process was used. We identify main areas for each of the industry categories (Wood products, metal products, clothing/textiles/footwear, other) in Harare and Bulawo. We then divide up the areas into sub-areas (enumerating areas) with roughly equal numbers of firms. Then we randomly select a couple of clusters. For those clusters, we count and list the firms. Then we randomly select firms from that list.
Data weights were constructed to correct for oversampling or under-sampling of certain firms within categories (location, firm size and industry).
Dates of Data Collection
Wave 1: Survey of owners of formal firms
Wave 1: Survey of owners of informal firms and workers at formal and informal firms
Wave 2: Survey of owners of informal firms, and workers at formal and informal firms
Data Collection Mode
Seven questionnaires were used for the survey. Wave 1, 2015 questionnaires included a questionnaire for formal-firm owners, formal firm workers, informal firm owners (the CAI questionnaire collected data similar to that in the worker survey, and a paper-based questionnaire collected firm production data) and informal workers (5 questionnaires)
Wave 2, 2016 questionnaires included a questionnaire for owners of firms in the informal section, and one for workers in the formal and informal sectors (2 questionnaires).
DataFirst support site
University of Cape Town
Public use files, available to all
Edwards, L. Zimbabwe Manufacturing Firm Survey 2015-2016 [dataset]. 2018. Version 1. Cape Town: Panel-Data for Labour Market Analysis in Zimbabwe Project [producer], 2018. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2018. 10.25828/jjz4-b143