Eurofound has developed three regularly repeated surveys to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions. The surveys offer a unique source of comparative information on the quality of living and working conditions across the EU. Detailed analysis of the survey data allows Eurofound to identify new and emerging trends, as well as to gain deeper insight in the issues central to European policy. The results provide a strong basis for policy makers to identify opportunities for improvement and to develop forward looking perspectives. The surveys are a key element in Eurofound’s mission to provide high quality information and advice for EU and national level policy makers, social partners, researchers and European citizens alike.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), implemented in 2003, 2007 and 2011-12, provides a comprehensive portrait of living conditions in European countries. It contains a broad range of indicators on different dimensions of quality of life, both objective and subjective. In addition, some EQLS questions were used in a Special Eurobarometer on Poverty and Social Exclusion in autumn 2009 and 2010. Given the recent high level of interest in the quality of life of European citizens, the EQLS is increasingly important for Eurofound’s contribution to the political and academic debate.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) is the longest running survey, and has become an established source of information about working conditions and the quality of work and employment. With five waves having been implemented since 1990, it enables monitoring of long-term trends in working conditions in Europe. Themes covered include employment status, working time arrangements, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, worker participation, work-life balance, earnings and financial security, as well as work and health.
The European Company Survey (ECS), implemented in 2004 and 2009, gives an overview of workplace practices and how they are negotiated in European establishments. It is based on the views of both managers and employee representatives. The survey was first launched in 2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance. It was repeated in 2009 as the European Company Survey, focussing on flexibility practices and the quality of social dialogue. The third ECS will take place in 2013.
The three Eurofound surveys share the following features:
- Representative samples
- Coverage of all EU Member States as well as (potential) Candidate Countries and EFTA countries
- Cross-country comparability
- Multiple waves (enabling trend analysis)
- Questionnaires covering a wide range of topics designed to meet European policy needs
- Developed in close cooperation with Eurofound’s tripartite stakeholders and experts in the field
- Questionnaires built on an inter-disciplinary scientific basis
- Elaborate strategy for quality assurance
- Timely availability of results, in policy relevant reports, the online survey mapping tool, and through the UK Data Archive.