BioData in GeneSys Online

This article will outline our suggestions for the biodata fields going forward in GeneSys Online 3.0.  Below, I step through each field in turn and explain any changes to the existing.  The attached Excel workbook contains additional details, in particular the specific categories for certain fields.

The biodata suggestions are as follows:


1. Family Name

•  Should remain in its current form.

•  Should NOT be changed to “surname”.  “Family name” is more universal.


2. First Name

•  Should remain in its current form, except that it could be labelled “First Name or Given Name” in order to accommodate names in which the family name appears first.  (As a side note, such names pose an issue for reporting unless there is an option to reverse their order.)


2. Age

•  Should be changed to Date of Birth and use a date picker for conformity of dates.


3. Sex

•  Should remain in its current form.

•  Should NOT be changed to “gender”, which is more difficult to define.


4. Reference

•  Should remain in its current free‐text form.

•  Should perhaps only be seen and edited by test administrators, not respondents.

•  May be accompanied by explanatory text (such as “(e.g., Job Title)”).


5. Ethnicity

•  Should be a free‐text field.

•  Should have “live search” capability of ethnicity list to aid spelling and consistency.


The literature generally agrees that it is best to allow respondents to provide their own description of ethnicity.  Consequently, I suggest that this field should be a free‐text field.  I recognise that this makes data analysis tasks more difficult, but the benefit is more accurate ethnic information.  (Plus, when rigorous classification is required for analysis purposes, converting to classifications from free text could be partially automated.)  Consistency and correct spelling are considerations, and these can be encouraged by incorporating “live search” functionality that suggests, but does not force, ethnic group labels from a large list.  The excel file attached shows the first version of such a list. It contains more than 1600 entries and can be added to over time.


6. Education

•  Should remain a categorical field.

•  Could be labelled “Highest Education” to clarify that multiple responses aren’t needed.

•  The suggested list (see attached) is based on existing lists but should apply universally across countries.


7. Job Area or “Occupation”

•  Should be renamed to “Occupation” to be in line with international standards (or “Current or Most Recent Occupation” to differentiate it from the job being applied for).

•  Should implement Level 1, or Levels 1 and 2, of the UN‐endorsed occupation classification system ISCO‐08.


Generally, countries that use a classification scheme for occupation are based on similar hierarchical classification systems.  The one that I recommend is based on ISCO‐08, which is endorsed by the United Nations.  ISCO‐08 is very similar to SOC2010, which is UK orientated.

The hierarchical occupation classification structures consist of several levels, but I only recommend using either the first level only (10 categories) or the first and second level (around 45 categories).  It would be too cumbersome to include additional levels, but using only the first level may be problematic because first‐level categories are very broad and hence somewhat vague.  Incorporating the second level would almost certainly help people to classify occupations correctly.

Note that I have modified the wording of the strict ISCO‐08 categories to relate to individual workers rather than groups of workers.  For example, “Technicians and Associate Professionals” has been changed to “Technician or Associate Professional”.


8. Industry

•  Should implement first level of ISIC Rev.4 (UN endorsed).

Several industry classification schemes have been reviewed (ANZSIC 2006 in Australia and New Zealand, SIC 1997 for the US, NAICS 2007 for the US, SIC 2007 for the UK, and ISIC Rev.4 for the United Nations).  Like Occupation, these are hierarchical classification schemas.  Here, however, we recommend that we only use the first level.  This consists of 21 categories, and is identical for the two most relevant schemas: United Nations ISIC Rev.4, and UK SIC 2007.


Your thoughts on these suggestions are welcome. Please create an account to submit your comments below:

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GeneSys 360 – Self Control

For some time now 360 administrators have been able to ask the 360 “SELF” (the target of the 360 appraisal) to specify their own raters, meaning that a lot of the work of adding raters to the system is taken out of the administrators hands.

Once the SELF has added their raters however, the responsibility then falls back onto the administrator to then process the invitations.

A new feature has been launched today however, that makes this process far simpler for the administrator and makes the 360 process clearer for the SELF.

From today, when SELF’s are invited to specify their own raters, they will have the ability to track the progress of their own 360 appraisal. They will still add the raters as normal, however they can now send email invitations to their raters (using the text specified by the administrator) and at the same time take their own assessment.

This speeds up the 360 process dramatically and puts the emphasis on the SELF to chase their own raters to complete. In the past we have seen 360 appraisals stagnate as raters fail to respond, however, now the SELF can see which of their raters is still outstanding and can see why their appraisal is taking so long.

At the same time, the administrator still has full access to the process from their GeneSys Online account. Administrators can check who has been invited, add additional raters or remove them. They can also process the emails themselves.