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Breaking Data Collection Records


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This data collection had never been done before and was very complex to pull off in such a short timeline. Meeting all the client’s goals is a testament to the tireless work of our cross-department team.

Jennifer Titus, Senior Research Director
Health Sciences

When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces employment anti-discrimination laws and advances equal opportunity in the workplace, awarded NORC the contract to collect employee compensation data in early May 2019, we knew the project would require a committed team of experts from across NORC. After all, the project involved gathering data on the number of employees and hours worked by job category, salary pay band, race, ethnicity, and gender from more than 72,000 large companies in just 12 weeks—an unprecedented task.

We quickly mobilized a multidisciplinary team—including our multiple phone centers, NORC information technology professionals, survey methodologists, and data scientists. In just 75 days, NORC staff developed two different mechanisms for collecting the EEOC pay data. Employers could choose either to enter their data in an online system or to upload their own files formatted to project specifications; both methods offered maximum confidentiality protections. We successfully collected data on more than 80 million employees in the allotted time.

In parallel, we set up and staffed a fully functional technical assistance help desk that was able to accept and respond to a staggering number of requests for support.

Help desk staff members answered over 46,000 calls and responded individually to over 27,000 emails in three months, a new record for our organization.

Thanks to our team’s painstaking work, we met all project deadlines on or before schedule, surpassed the EEOC target response rate of 72 percent, and won praise from both the EEOC and employers using the system.