What Is an Activity Type?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
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An activity type is a classification used to describe the primary activity of a business or a sector within that business, such as an individual department. This classification provides information about the kinds of thing a business or department does as part of its work. Grants and other requests for assistance may ask about activity type to determine if an applicant qualifies, and it can also be used in overviews of a business and its operations. Such classifications can be important for salary and pay schedules, which are often based at least in part on what people do, along with seniority in a company.

Within a company, activity types act like thumbnail job descriptions. For example, employees of a bank might be classified as tellers, loan officers, computer programmers, security officers, and so forth. Each activity type offers a very general description of the kind of work the employee does. It also separates the different jobs at the bank into categories that can be used to make salary decisions. Within a specific type, there may be rankings to reflect education, experience, and seniority, and these determine base pay.


In addition to being used to describe job categories, activity types are valuable for discussing the role of a company in the business climate. A bank offers financial services, while a gardening company would be categorized in the landscaping activity type. Organizations and agencies that conduct surveys to learn more about businesses in an area may use these classifications to quickly break down businesses into meaningful categories for statistical purposes. An agency might find that 10% of the businesses in an area offer construction services, for example.

On applications for grants and other assistance, companies often need to discuss their activity type. The reviewing agency or organization can use this to determine if a company qualifies. It can be useful for internal statistics as well, since such organizations usually want to offer grants in a balanced way to help the community. If their grant offerings begin to slant heavily in a particular direction, they might need to recruit more companies or conduct an informational campaign to alert people to the fact that financial assistance is available.

Individual employees should be aware of their activity type. In some cases it is embedded in their title; an Administrative Assistant II, for example, is in the administrative category, while the number ranking provides additional information about the kinds of services the assistant provides. It is possible to look at surveys of an industry by activity type to learn if salaries are comparable. This information can be useful in wage and salary negotiations.



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