MONDAY, MAY 21: Hi-tech computer questionnaires are to be used in a major survey of the Bermuda workforce, Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox said today.
The pilot scheme will be carried out as part of a major survey on employment, with a total of 1,500 homes earmarked to take part.
Ms Cox said: “Instead of using the traditional paper and pencil questionnaire, interviewers will be testing the use of computer net books to administer an electronic questionnaire to a sample of households.”
In addition, the labour force survey will include questions on age discrimination in the workplace and retirement.
Ms Cox said: “The aim is to ascertain people’s views about mandatory retirement, working beyond 65 years and views on delaying the receipt of one’s pension to work longer in the labour force.”
But she added: “Age discrimination isn’t just for those at the upper end of their working life. You can have discrimination against younger people, which is why we want to get the data.”
Ms Cox said the last major survey on the workforce was the 2010 census, which listed 2581 people as unemployed, with an official unemployment rate of six per cent.
She added: “We all know that there been several shifts in the workforce since 2010. This labour force survey will obtain the data necessary to update these workforce indicators so we will certainly have as a Government the current statistics and know what shifts are actually taking place in the workforce and in what areas.”
Ms Cox said that information will be used to tailor training opportunities and better help establish where there are qualified Bermudians available for posts at present held by work permit holders.
She added that the survey will also help establish areas where jobs have disappeared altogether due to changes in the business models of firms.
Ms Cox said: “Some jobs won’t come back so it’s important to have training so people can switch their careers.”
Director of Statistics Valerie Robinson-James added there had been redundancies and retirements since 2010 and that Government “could not rely on anecdotal information.”
She said that a “computer assisted telephone interview” method would be used as the primary interview method, with 92 per cent of interviews expected to be completed that way.
Interviews will also be conducted by staff using the traditional face to face method, while around 120 households will be interviewed using the pilot net book survey.
Ms Robinson-James added that all callers will have Government ID and a letter from the statistics office confirming they are carrying out an official survey.
She said that interviews will be carried out during the week and at weekends.
The survey starts today and will run until June 29. Ms Robinson-James said just under 50 per cent of contacted households – around 700 – had responded to letters asking them to schedule interview times.
And she encouraged others who had not yet responded to contact the Statistics Office to arrange an interview.