Employee Surveys

About demographics

Lydia Watson

To better understand your employees, you need to look at demographics. This means understanding the experiences of different groups – whether it’s employees in the sales team, or women aged 45-54. Depending on the type of survey you send, there are a few steps you can take. 

What are demographics?

‘Demographics’ are a way of grouping people, based on their characteristics, identity or employment. There are a wide range of demographics you could choose to record, but these are the primary groups:

  • Personal characteristics: like ‘sex’or ‘race’
    (see here for a full list of protected characteristics) 
  • Employment identifiers: like ‘department’ or ‘tenure’

Why is demographic information useful?

Your workplace population isn’t one homogenous group. Each employee has different experiences, and those experiences are often affected by their demographics. 

Someone who’s been with the organisation for ten years will have a different perspective on someone who joined last week. An employee from a minority ethnic group won’t have the same experience as those from a majority group.

By recording and understanding the experiences of different demographics, you can create a better working life for everyone – and get diverse feedback that can make your organisation stronger.

What do I need to know about demographics?

Before we explain how to collect demographic data, there are two important things you need to remember: 

1. Demographic data is protected by confidentiality – automatically

We call this data protection. The platform will automatically hide comments and question answers for groups of people (in a team, or in a demographic) if there are not enough responses from that group.

So people’s confidentiality is protected when answering a closed question by not showing answers for 5 or less. This also applies for open text questions (comments) and answers will be hidden if there are 10 or less responses. 

2. Employees must be allowed to choose not to share their personal characteristics

Not all survey participants want to respond to sensitive or very personal questions. So everytime you ask about these personal characteristics, you should include a response option “Prefer not to say”. It’s still valuable to understand.

Here are some of the personal characteristics you can ask about in demographic questions:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Examples of demographic questions you can add to your survey

Age

Survey form question: What is your age?
Attribute Name: Age
Question Format: Select one

Available answers

  • 16 – 24
  • 25 – 34
  • 35 – 44
  • 45 – 54
  • 55 – 64
  • 65 – 74
  • 75+
  • Prefer not to say

Marital Status

Survey form question: What is your marital status?
Attribute Name: Marital Status
Question Format: Select one

Available answers

  • Single
  • Married
  • Civil Partnership
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • Prefer not to say

Sex/Gender

Survey form question: Which of the following best describes your gender?
Attribute Name: Gender
Question Format: Select one

Available answers

  • Male
  • Female
  • Transgender
  • Polygender
  • Intergender
  • Nongender
  • Agender
  • Non-binary
  • Prefer not to say

Length of Service

Survey form question: How long have you worked at our organisation?
Attribute Name: Tenure
Question Format: Select one

Available answers

  • 00 – 06 months
  • 07 – 12 months
  • 01 – 02 years
  • 02 – 05 years
  • 06 – 10 years
  • 11 – 19 years
  • 20+ years

Other demographic questions

There are other demographic questions you can add to the survey. These can be far more personal and sensitive, but are still important for understanding the employee experience of all groups. 

Examples of additional questions:

  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

The questions and answers may be different depending on the country you are surveying. Pease contact our Employee Experience experts here that can help you further.

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