Deciding on Demographic Categories and Attributes

Including demographic data in a survey will make it possible to drill down and analyse segments or sub-groups of one or more business units to see results specific to a particular demographic grouping e.g. males versus females. Demographic categories should, however, be chosen with care and for a specific purpose – it doesn’t make much sense to include demographic questions regarding gender if it is an all-female business unit or team. Also bear in mind that asking a lot of demographic questions as part of a survey could be viewed as an invasion of privacy and confidentially, particularly in smaller groups, so keep them to the minimum.

An example of the demographic categories and attributes used in the Flow@Work survey are shown in the table below.

  

Category Attribute #1 Attribute #2 Attribute #3 Attribute #4 Attribute #5
Age Group <21 years 21 - 25 years 26 - 35 years 36 - 50 years >50 years
Tenure <1 year 1 - 2 years 3 - 5 years 6 - 10 years >10 years
Term  <1 month 1 - 6 months 7 - 12 months 1 - 3 years >3 years
Level Operational Supervisor Junior Mngmt Senior Mngmt Executive
Qualifications < A-level A-level Diploma Degree Postgrad
Gender Male Female No response    

 

Some guidelines to consider when deciding on the number and range of demographic categories and attributes:

  • When surveying a small population, reduce the number of attributes per demographic category;

  • Only include demographic categories that add value and that will be used; leave out the unnecessary categories;

  • Make sure that a demographic category’s attribute ranges don’t overlap, particularly when it comes to numbers such as Age or Tenure at Organisation;

  • If demographic questions are going to be included in a survey, include them right at the end of the survey – demographic questions are generally viewed as invasive and could discourage respondents from completing the survey if asked at the beginning;

  • If possible, don’t include any demographic questions in a survey at all, and instead go for the targeted survey option (see the next section) where the employees’ demographic attributes are captured and imported into the survey system.

 

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