Main findings from the ILO LFS pilot studies


In October 2013 the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) agreed a ground-breaking set of new standards on work and labour statistics. Those standards established a new framework for work and labour statistics in replacement of the standards from the 13th ICLS, which have been used since 1982 as a reference point for the measurement of employment, unemployment and the economically active population.

The updated standards promise to substantially enhance our understanding of women’s and men’s participation in labour markets and their contributions, through unpaid work, to their households, communities and the economy. However, they have major implications for the production and communication of key statistics both nationally and internationally. Recognising the challenges this has created, the ICLS called on the ILO to develop guidance to support countries in the implementation of the standards. In 2015, the ILO embarked on a major project for the implementation of a global Labour Force Survey pilot studies project to provide the evidence upon which guidance could be built.

It is my belief that the project has indeed achieved this goal through the reports of the pilot studies which are now being made available. The reports contain a diverse set of findings and evidence across many topics relevant to the design of LFS. They are being made available on a themed basis for accessibility purposes.

I hope and expect that these reports can be a major contribution to the work of practitioners of labour force surveys in particular, but also those interested in household survey design and testing.

While I am confident that these reports are in themselves of high value, I note that they are only one step on the path towards the provision of comprehensive support and guidance, which is in high demand from ILO constituents. The ILO Department of Statistics is fully committed to meeting this demand through the incremental release through 2018 and 2019 of further reports, guides, model questionnaires and other tools which will ultimately form a toolkit for LFS practitioners.

I cannot finish without thanking the many people who have supported the pilot studies. Firstly, I must acknowledge the tireless work put in by Elisa Benes and Kieran Walsh who have provided the technical leadership and expertise throughout the implementation of the pilot studies, and been the chief authors of the reports. They have been ably and extensively supported by many others within the ILO and in the 10 partner countries. Further, we have been lucky to count on the financial support of external agencies including Data2x and African Development Bank who have supplemented the funding and resources contributed by the ILO and participant countries.

Rafael Diez de Medina
Department of Statistics