Living and working in Turkey

05 June 2018

  •   Population: 79.8 million (2017)
  •   Real GDP growth: 3.2% (2016)

Data source: Eurostat

Eurofound provides research, data and analysis on a wide range of social and work-related topics. This information is largely comparative, but also offers country-specific information for potential candidate countries.

Eurofound seeks to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to the quality of life and work – in Member States and in potential candidate countries. The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance programme 2014–2020 is an important tool that supports these countries in better preparing the implementation of public administration reforms, improving their economies and achieving the objectives set during the reform process. In this context, Eurofound country profiles offer a wealth of information on key components of working life in the enlargement countries.

2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Turkey: 64% of respondents can always or most of the time apply their own ideas at work 

Living in Turkey

Quality of life

Quality of life

Findings from Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) show that many of the indicators about quality of life in Turkey are below the EU28 averages. For instance, average life satisfaction in Turkey was 6.0 in 2016, lower than the respective EU28 average of 7.1 (on a scale of 1–10). Furthermore, the share of respondents feeling free to decide how to live their lives stood at 14% in Turkey in 2016, also lower than the EU28 average of 26%.

The share of people reporting difficulties in making ends meet has decreased substantially in Turkey during the period of observation. In 2003, 76% of respondents in Turkey reported difficulties in making ends meet, whereas this level fell to 46% in 2016, although still somewhat higher than the respective EU28 average of 39%.

  2003200720112016
Life satisfactionMean (1-10)5.66.26.66.0
Taking all things together on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are?Mean (1-10)6.56.66.96.2
Optimism about own futureAgree & strongly agree---59%
Optimism about children’s or grandchildren’s futureAgree & strongly agree---52%
Take part in sports or physical exerciseAt least once a week--18%21%
In general, how is your health?Very good-14%17%14%
WHO-5 mental wellbeing indexMean (1-100)-475658
Making ends meetWith some difficulty, difficulty, and great difficulty76%74%63%46%
I feel I am free to decide how to live my lifeStrongly agree- 24%14%
I find it difficult to deal with important problems that come up in my lifeAgree & strongly agree---39%
When things go wrong in my life, it generally takes me a long time to get back to normalAgree & strongly agree---39%

Work-life balance

Work-life balance

According to the EQLS, work–life balance is relatively low in Turkey in comparison to the EU28 average. Of all the surveyed countries, Turkey has the highest share of people experiencing two out of the three work–life balance related problems at least several times a month. Turkey has the highest number of respondents having difficulties to fulfil family responsibilities and also having difficulties to concentrate at work because of family responsibilities. In 2016, 80% of respondents in Turkey have come home too tired from work to do some of the household jobs which need to be done at least several times a month, compared with the EU28 average of 59%. Furthermore, 71% of respondents in Turkey said that it has been difficult to fulfil family responsibilities because of work at least several times a month in 2016, much higher than the EU28 average of 38%. Regarding the third work–life balance problem, some 60% of respondents in Turkey reported having difficulties to concentrate at work because of family responsibilities at least several times a month in 2016, again far above the EU28 average of 19%.

  2003200720112016
(At least several times a month)   
I have come home from work too tired to do some of the household jobs which need to be doneTotal54%67%73%80%
Men49%66%73%80%
Women75%77%77%81%
      
It has been difficult for me to fulfil my family responsibilities because of the amount of time I spend on the jobTotal50%53%60%71%
Men47%51%59%72%
Women63%62%64%68%
      
I have found it difficult to concentrate at work because of my family responsibilitiesTotal27%34%41%60%
Men28%34%42%58%
Women25%32%40%64%

Quality of society

Quality of society

The Social Exclusion Index score was 2.6 in Turkey in 2016, higher than the EU28 average of 2.1 (on a scale of 1–5 where a higher value means a higher incidence of social exclusion). Furthermore, only 5% of respondents in Turkey volunteered at least once a month in 2016, significantly lower than the EU28 average of 10%. Turkey also had the lowest share of respondents among all the surveyed countries who felt safe when walking alone after dark, at 13% in 2016 versus the significantly higher level of 35% in the EU28.

However, average trust in people in Turkey stood at 5.3 in 2016, which was slightly above the EU28 average of 5.2 (on a scale of 1–10). Additionally, only 25% of respondents in Turkey perceived a lot of tension between poor and rich people in 2016, which was lower than the EU28 average of 29%.

  2003200720112016
Social exclusion indexMean (1-5) 2.42.42.6
Trust in peopleMean (1-10)4.54.94.95.3
Involvement in unpaid voluntary work% "at least once a month"--4%5%
Tension between poor and rich people% reporting 'a lot of tension'0.60.30.425%
Tension between different racial and ethnic groups% reporting 'a lot of tension'0.50.30.441%
I feel safe when I walk alone after darkStrongly agree---13%

Quality of public services

Quality of public services

Quality ratings for seven public services

Note: scale of 1-10, Source: EQLS 2016.

The perceived quality of many public services in Turkey was similar to the EU28 averages, and some were perceived to be better than on average in the EU. For instance, the perceived quality of the state pension system in Turkey stood at 6.1 in 2016, higher than the EU28 average of 5.0 (on a scale of 1–10). Furthermore, the quality rating for social housing in Turkey was 6.4 in 2016, also higher than the EU28 average of 5.6.

The quality ratings for the seven public services examined in the EQLS have also increased in Turkey during the period of observation. For example, the perceived quality of health services improved constantly between all the survey years, from 3.9 in 2003 to 6.9 in 2016, also rising slightly above the EU28 average of 6.7. Moreover, the perceived quality of the education system increased from 4.5 in 2003 to 6.4 in 2016.

  2003200720112016
Health servicesMean (1-10)3.95.96.76.9
Education systemMean (1-10)4.55.86.46.4
Public transportMean (1-10)5.06.16.66.6
Childcare servicesMean (1-10)-5.16.36.2
Long-term care servicesMean (1-10)--6.56.3
Social housingMean (1-10)--6.36.4
State pension systemMean (1-10)4.34.85.86.1

Working life in Turkey

Working life profile

Working life profile

Eurofound is currently working on a new working life profile for Turkey. It will be a comprehensive update on industrial relations and working conditions, aiming to provide the relevant background information on the structures, institutions and regulations related to working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work.

Meanwhile, the previous industrial profile for Turkey is available for download.

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