The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a vital data source for conducting institutional, peer, and national analyses. As of 2012-2013, IPEDS Human Resources occupational categories align with the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC is designed to reflect the current occupational structure of the United States and is used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers and jobs into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analyzing, or disseminating data.
A recent survey of AIR members explored awareness and knowledge of the new IPEDS HR categories. Forty-four percent of survey respondents reported that they are involved in their institutions’ conversions to the new IPEDS HR occupational categories, and 28% reported they are unaware of the new HR categories.
Institutions appear to be at various stages of the conversion process, which involves recoding employees from the old IPEDS HR categories to align with the new SOC guidelines. Employees were previously assigned to categories based on primary functions, such as service/maintenance, technical and paraprofessional, and clerical and secretarial, to name a few. Occupations in the SOC are classified based on work performed and, in some cases, on the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level. For example, employees previously classified as service/maintenance are now classified according to the work they perform, and may be included under service; natural resources, construction, and maintenance; or production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
One quarter of respondents indicated that their institutions have completed updating their HR categories, while 34% will complete updates by the end of the calendar year. Other responses indicated that institutions will complete the conversion process in time to submit IPEDS data, and some respondents are unsure of their institutions’ timelines. In addition, institutions are using a variety of methods to update HR data, including developing or modifying existing software and using software provided by external vendors.
Finally, 89% of survey respondents indicated that their institutions’ IR and HR offices are working together to update the HR categories, with 68% reporting that HR has primary responsibility. Visit the Surveys section of eAIR to view results in their entirety.
More information about the new IPEDS HR categories is available on the AIR website and the IPEDS SOC resource page.