Working conditions

27 November 2019

Working conditions refer to the working environment and aspects of an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. This covers such matters as the organisation of work and work activities; training, skills and employability; health, safety and well-being; working time and work-life balance.  Fair working conditions are one of the main principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Since its launch in 1990 the European Working Conditions Survey has provided an overview of working conditions in Europe. The scope of the survey questionnaire has widened substantially since the first edition, aiming to provide a comprehensive picture of the everyday reality of men and women at work.

Covers the working environment and aspects of employees’ terms and conditions of employment – in particular, from the perspective of job quality: career and employment security; health and well-being at the workplace; development of skills and competencies; and work–life balance.

Society gauges its progress, in part, by judging how working conditions are improving. EU policy enshrines equal opportunities in the workplace for women and men, limits working hours, sets standards to ensure safety, and promotes investment in skills development. Progress has been made, but a critical 20% of workers remain in poor-quality jobs; job insecurity and work intensity have increased in the wake of the economic crisis; a good work–life balance remains elusive for some; and psychosocial risks need to be addressed as an emerging issue.

Eurofound seeks to supply the information that Europe’s decision-makers need: How should work be organised to facilitate work–life balance? What can companies do to enable older workers to stay in their jobs for longer? What are the factors that contribute to physical and psychological violence in the workplace? And how can the benefits of involving employees in decision-making be maximised?

Ongoing work

Other topics addressed will include:

  • Analysis of how working conditions differ across sectors to provide evidence on working conditions and their implications for sustainable work
  • Links between employee engagement and development of workers knowledge and skills
  • Flagship report covering working conditions and sustainable work (including findings from ‘Differences in working conditions between various groups of workers – analysing trends over time’)
  • Highlights of recent developments of selected features of working life in so called topical updates, with one featuring statutory minimum wages


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