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National Employer Survey

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To provide and relate information on worker education, employer training and employer business characteristics, including business productivity. The United States Code, Title 13, authorized this survey and provided for voluntary responses. The National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW), a nonprofit research group, fully funded the survey.


All U.S. manufacturing and nonmanufacturing establishments with 20 or more employees, except agriculture and government establishments. A major finding was that, in the early 1990's, increased worker training and education raised business productivity more than comparably increased hours worked or capital equipment.


Data were collected on four topics: employees and employment, employee training, business characteristics, and equipment and technology. Employees and employment included number of employees, work week, pay, benefits, supervision, hiring practices and union representation. Employee training included organization, purposes, formal and informal programs, duration, trainees and effectiveness. Business characteristics included year operations began, company and establishment size, principal product and exports. Equipment and technology included capital assets, recent investments, age of equipment, use of computers and research activities.


One-time survey primarily covering conditions in 1993, with a follow-up covering 1995 conducted in 1996. Primary data collection began in August 1994 and continued for about 8 weeks; data collected were mostly for activities taking place in the prior calendar year but included some information for earlier years.


A computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) survey of 3,100 establishments, supplemented by historical census and survey performance (productivity) measures for most manufacturing establishments. Establishments were randomly selected from the Business Register (BR) and placed in industry-based panels that would support regression estimates by business size and type of activity. Historical performance measures were obtained from the Longitudinal Research Database (LRD). Respondents received an introductory letter describing the survey but, because this was a telephone survey, no printed forms were sent.

The sample was evenly divided between manufacturers and non-manufacturers, with explicit oversampling of establishments that have 100 or more employees and implicit oversampling of manufacturers because they are greatly outnumbered by non-manufacturers in the Busines Register universe. Sampling was adequate to produce regression panels for 10 NAICS-based manufacturing categories and 11 non-manufacturing categories. Each NAICS-based category was stratified into 5 establishment size classes and the regression model could calculate relationships by establishment size class.


The EQW National Employer Survey: First Findings report was released by the EQW about 13 months after the survey reference year (7 months after data collection was completed). It included data on worker education and workplace training, and employer views on education adequacy and hiring practices.

The Other Shoe: Education's Contribution to the Productivity of Establishments report was released by EQW about 17 months after the reference year. It included data on the relationship between worker education and business productivity, and the comparative productivity contributions of increased hours and capital investment.

Another major report by EQW is scheduled for release about 20 months after the reference year. It will include the complete results from the regression models of studied activities by establishment size.


Education, human services, and economic policy agencies use the study results to assess what kinds of education and training most affect business productivity, and encourage actions and develop initiatives that increase productivity. Employer businesses and industry associations use the results to assess existing and potential company and industry practices, and take actions that will increase business productivity, profitability, and international competitiveness.


Provided first-ever U.S. statistics that relate education, training and hiring practices to business productivity; results will be linked to a 5-year study of the American workplace and coordinated with World Bank-sponsored studies in other countries.


Longitudinal Research Database

Business Register




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