The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.
Work that suits you: Using BLS data to
match your preferences
Elka Torpey | February 2018
Everyone has likes and dislikes, even on the job. Maybe you’d be happiest having a regular, predictable schedule.
Or perhaps you don’t want to lift heavy objects.
Whatever your work preferences, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a survey for you. The
Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) can help identify types of jobs that may—or may not—be a good match
for your interests and abilities. This new survey highlights some of the conditions and demands that are typical in
different occupations. Read on to learn more about the survey and how its data may help you in choosing a career.
U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
A new survey
In 2015, the BLS National Compensation Survey program began collecting occupational requirements data for the
ORS. The first estimates were published in 2016 and 2017. BLS collects these data for the Social Security
Administration, which plans to use them to help workers with disabilities.
The four categories of data from ORS are:
Mental and cognitive demands
The tables in this article illustrate one requirement from each category, showing data by selected occupational
The tables also show median annual wages in the selected groups, using data from the BLS Occupational
Employment Statistics survey. Compare these data with $37,040, the median annual wage for all workers—half
made more and half made less than this amount—in 2016. These wage data exclude the self-employed.
When looking at overall wages for a group of occupations, keep in mind that these wages are averages of the
occupations in the group; wages for specific occupations may be higher or lower than the average. For example,
the sales and related occupations group had a relatively low median wage overall, $26,590, but occupations such
as wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives for technical and scientific pr