Size and characteristics
Our employment figures on the size and characteristics of each sector are largely based on Labour Force Survey (LFS) data. The LFS surveys an estimated 60,000 private households every quarter. By pooling data for unique individuals from four quarters, it is possible to produce reliable estimates of the sector’s workforce. Weighting is used within the LFS to compensate for non-response rates in certain groups and produce population estimates.

To identify the sector a respondent is employed in, a two stage self-classification process is used. Respondents are first asked whether they work for ‘a private firm, business or a limited company’ or ‘some other kind of organisation’. Those respondents who choose the second option are then asked, ‘what kind of non-private organisation is it?’ They are then presented with a range of options including ‘charity, voluntary organisation or trust’. For the purposes of the analysis for the Almanac, responses to these questions were recoded into a sector variable and defined as ‘private’, ‘public’ or ‘voluntary’.

Learning and skills
Our learning and skills figures are mainly based on figures from the UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey (UKCES). The survey looks at training and staff development, vacancies unfilled because of skills shortages, gaps in employees’ skills, recruitment of education leavers, and a host of other measures to provide a comprehensive and robust picture of skills needs and training investment in the UK.

The statistics on volunteering are available from the August 2012 – January 2013 Community Life Survey, published by the Cabinet Office (which also includes statistics for previous years from the Citizenship Survey). All extrapolated figures are based on ONS 2011 mid-year estimates.