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European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO)


21 July 2014: Cultural factors explain inactivity rates of women (Malta / Information update)
A study has shown that cultural factors may lie behind women’s inactivity rates in Malta. Negative views on childcare facilities may inhibit them from relying on professional childcare while they return to work. The EU-funded study focuses on women who are not active in the labour market, exploring their perceptions about support services like childcare centres and care services for the elderly. The research revealed that information about support structures and related incentives to encourage women to return to work were not reaching their target audience.

21 July 2014: Gender stereotyping still an issue among older people (Italy / Information update)
Gender stereotyping in Italy continues to be an issue, according to a new report from the national bureau of statistics based on an Istat survey about women’s participation in the labour market. The majority of respondents accept that men and women are equally capable in leadership roles and believe that more women should hold public positions. However, many – particularly among older age groups - still believe that economic support for families should be provided by men.

12 June 2014: Small businesses struggling in the wake of the crisis (Hungary / Information update)
Small businesses in Hungary are viewed as the lifeblood of the economy, but they have been badly affected by the global financial crisis. Figures show that around 176,000 businesses have failed to survive the downturn, with SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises – the most badly affected sector. There has been institutional support for SMEs, but for many the prospects are gloomy. A survey shows companies are continuing to cut costs and are postponing investment.

06 June 2014: Sustainable employment and occupational profile (Netherlands / Information update)
Keeping people in employment until retirement age is a hot topic in the Netherlands, as it is across the rest of the European Union. A series of Dutch studies shows that workers in some sectors are more likely to be able and willing to work until retirement age and others less so, such as craft and manufacturing workers, construction workers and machine operators, transport workers and some in healthcare. People in supervisory roles are most likely to be happy to continue to work.

23 May 2014: Greater social dialogue could boost youth employment (United Kingdom / Information update)
Youth unemployment has been a persistent issue for the UK economy. The transition of young people into the labour market has taken longer and become more precarious over the last 10 years. A report from Union Learn, the learning and skills organisation of the Trades Union Congress, suggests ways in which the government, unions and employers could tackle the UK’s youth employment crisis. It recommends more national dialogue, particularly on apprenticeship funding, training and incentives.

20 May 2014: Polarisation of the labour market post-crisis (Ireland / Information update)
A report into the impact of the recession on the Irish labour market has been published. It reveals a pattern of ‘polarisation’, with an increase in the number of jobs at the top and at the bottom of the market. There appears to be a ‘hollowing out’ of employment in the middle-paying jobs. The main reason for this, says the report, is the huge number of job losses in the construction sector during the recession, a sector where wages tend to be at this mid-range level.

13 May 2014: Vocational training geared towards job-specific skills (Romania / Information update)
A wide range of vocational training is being provided to Romanian companies according to a study carried out by the National Institute of Statistics. The findings from 2010 show that up to one quarter (24.1%) of Romanian companies provide continuous vocational training for their employees. The subjects offered on the courses are most likely to be job-specific. Communication training is widely offered along with courses on teamwork, as well as IT skills. The study reveals significant differences across economic sectors and by company size.

05 May 2014: Almost half of all workers subject to work-related health risks (Romania / Information update)
A significant number of people in Romania have been exposed to work-related health risks according to a new survey. More than 4.4 million employees, close to half of all those in employment, reported that they had been exposed at work to at least one factor that may affect their mental or physical health. Exposure to factors affecting only physical health were reported by 69.4% of this group, 5.8% reported exposure to factors affecting only mental health, and 24.8% reported both.

05 May 2014: Study points to discrimination in recruiting process (Austria / Information update)
A study of recruitment in Austria shows the country has a particular issue with discrimination in the labour market in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. The research suggests that, although general discrimination in Austria is perceived as below the EU27 average, this is not the case in recruitment practices. Austria is among the six EU27 countries where companies are most likely to discriminate against potential employees on the grounds of ethnic origin and gender.

05 May 2014: Companies hiring foreign workers to fill skills gap (Czech Republic / Information update)
A survey of Czech employers by the recruitment company ManpowerGroup found businesses were struggling to hire qualified staff, despite high unemployment. A fifth of companies had solved the problem by employing foreign workers. Businesses were most likely to take on foreign workers in manual positions, but they were also hired to fill top managerial roles. The majority of employers say they are not concerned about the movement of workers either into or out of the country.