Current employment, employment histories, transitions in and out of employment and career progression – Understanding Society can be used to explore a wide range of employment issues.

Questionnaire Grid

Understanding Society has many modules that relate to employment research areas. The following grid highlights which modules we ask, what types of information is included, and how often the modules are included. Some modules are asked when people are of certain ages.


How often asked?

Broad content

Data on adults


Current employment


Whether in employment, permanency, type of job, job start date



Whether has managerial responsibilities, type and size of employer, hours worked, commute



Number of people employed, type of self-employment, hours worked, accounts, work location, commute

Job satisfaction


How satisfied with job overall



Job-seeking, retirement date, whether ever worked, details of last job

Mothers return to work – asked of women on maternity leave

Annual (from Wave 3)

Plans to return to work, type of work

Second jobs


Whether has second job, details of second job

Commuting behaviour

Two yearly

Distance, difficulties of commute if travelling by car or van

Work conditions

Two yearly

Bonuses, pay rises, trade union, employer pension, times of day worked, flexible working arrangements, autonomy, stress, job security, future job plans

Additional work conditions (self-completion)

Four yearly

Attitudes towards work and importance of different features (such as work load, relationship with manager and pay)

Employment status history

Asked at Wave 1 or 5 (or panel entry)

Details of periods in and out of employment since leaving full-time education

Own first job

Asked at Wave 2 (or panel entry)

Details of first job after leaving full-time education


Retirement planning

Asked at ages 45, 50, 55, 60 and 65 if not retired

Age expected to retire, perceived advantages and disadvantages of retirement, expected income sources, expected replacement rate of income

Data on children


Future job intentions

Two yearly

Type of job they’d like to have in future