Social Grade

Social grade is a classification system based on occupation. It was developed for use on the NRS, and for over 50 years has been the research industry’s source of social grade data.


The classifications are as follows:

% of population (PAMCo Jan- Dec 2017)
A Higher managerial, administrative and professional
B Intermediate managerial, administrative and professional
C1 Supervisory, clerical and junior managerial, administrative and professional
C2 Skilled manual workers
D Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers 15
E State pensioners, casual and lowest grade workers, unemployed with state benefits only


The PAMCo interview includes detailed questions about the occupation of the Chief Income Earner (CIE) to establish social grade. Questions include not just what the CIE’s job is, but details such as their qualifications and the number of people they are responsible for.

The household is classified according to the CIE’s occupation, but social grade data are also available for the respondent themselves (if they are not the CIE).

Income is not part of the social grade classification. However, there is often a strong correlation between income and social grade.