Employment is one of the main variables covered by structural business statistics.
The definition of "employment" varies by source. In case of a country comparison e.g., it is essential to check the underlying definitions for each country. A supranational source like Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, provides harmonised statistics for its members. Whenever possible, make sure to retrieve employment statistics from a single source only.
Definitions by source:
Employment – Eurostat, Statistical Office of the European Union
- the number of persons employed and
- the number of employees
"The Community Labour Force Survey defines employment (in accordance with the International Labour Office) as follows:
Persons in employment are those, aged 15 years and over and living in private households, who during the reference week did any work for pay or profit for at least one hour, or were not working but had jobs from which they were temporarily absent. Family workers are also included
The European System of Accounts (ESA) defines employment as covering both employees and self-employed persons, who are engaged in some productive activity that falls within the production boundary of the system.
Employees: Employees are defined as all persons who, by agreement, work for another resident institutional unit and receive a remuneration. An employer-employee relationship exists when there is an agreement, which may be formal or informal, between an enterprise and a person, normally entered into voluntarily by both parties, whereby the person works for the enterprise in return for remuneration in cash or in kind. Note: Employees corresponds to the International Labour Office definition of ‘paid employment’.
Self-employed persons: Self-employed persons are defined as persons who are the sole owners, or joint owners, of the unincorporated enterprises in which they work, excluding those unincorporated enterprises that are classified as quasi-corporations. Self-employed persons are classified here if they are not also in a paid employment which constitutes their principal activity: in that latter case they are classified under employees. Self-employed persons also include the following categories: unpaid family workers, outworkers and workers engaged in production undertaken entirely for their own final consumption or own capital formation, either individually or collectively."
Employment – International Labour Organization (ILO)
- paid employment;
- self employment.
"Persons who during a specified brief period such as one week or one day, (a) performed some work for wage or salary in cash or in kind, (b) had a formal attachment to their job but were temporarily not at work during the reference period, (c) performed some work for profit or family gain in cash or in kind, (d) were with an enterprise such as a business, farm or service but who were temporarily not at work during the reference period for any specific reason."