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  • Article
    27 december 1997

    During 1997, the annual GDP growth rate reached 3.4%. Economic growth was
    accompanied by a fall in inflation: the annual increase in the GDP deflator
    (which measures changes in prices of all goods and services included in
    national GDP) fell from 14.4% in 1993 to 6.5% in 1997; while the consumer
    prices index rose by 5.2% in 1997. Particularly spectacular was the reduction
    of the public deficit from 13.8% of GDP in 1993 to 5% in 1997. However,
    increased production, reduced inflation and improved public finances were
    accompanied by a constant rise in unemployment, from 9.6% in 1994 to 10.4% in
    1997, while long-term unemployment now accounts for 50% of all unemployed
    persons. The improvement in public finances was also accompanied by a
    significant rise in tensions in the field of industrial relations.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    Following the severe economic recession of the early 1990s, the Finnish
    economy has more recently been characterised by a period of economic growth
    and relative stability. In 1997, economic growth rates amounted to 5.9%. This
    improved economic position also led to a reduction in unemployment, from a
    rate of 15.6% in 1996 to 14.5% in 1997. However, employment opportunities
    were primarily generated for young and highly-skilled people, while older
    workers and the low-skilled continued to suffer from long-term unemployment.
    Inflation decreased to 1.3% and the public deficit was reduced to 0.9% of
    GDP.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The European Commission has long emphasised the importance of small and
    medium-sized enterprises (SME s) in job creation. The recently published 1997
    annual report [1] by theEuropean Observatory for SMEs [2] shows a complex
    picture in terms of the employment impact of SMEs. According to the report,
    there are over 19 million enterprises active in the non-primary private
    sector in Europe (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
    Of these, around 99.8% fall into the EU classification of SMEs. Based on the
    analysis of trends between 1988 and 1997, the report suggests that during the
    1990-3 recession, the decline in employment was greater in large or
    medium-sized companies than in SMEs, thus suggesting that larger enterprises
    are more vulnerable to fluctuations in the business cycle. However,
    employment figures in SMEs nevertheless declined to 110 million persons. The
    report shows that while employment remains more stable in SMEs during periods
    of recession, in times of economic recovery, employment growth tends to be
    concentrated in the larger enterprises. SMEs were found to create more jobs
    than large enterprises, but they equally destroy more jobs. Significantly,
    the net rate of employment growth tends to be the same for enterprises of
    different sizes.

    [1] http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg23/download/eurobsen.pdf
    [2] http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg23/guide_en/eurobs.htm

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    Since the beginning of the 1990s, the German system of branch-level
    collective agreements (branchenbezogene Flächentarifverträge) has been in
    an continuing process of change in the direction of a differentiation between
    companies of collectively agreed norms and standards, and a decentralisation
    of bargaining competence to the company level. Two basic paths to
    decentralisation can be distinguished:

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The 1997 /Warwick pay and working time survey/ shows, on the one hand, that
    formal "benchmarking", or even measurement, of employee performance is not as
    common in the UK as might be expected. Benchmarking against the international
    competition is particularly infrequent, even where firms are experiencing an
    internationalisation of market boundaries or in the nature of their
    competition. On the other hand, the survey finds that employers do have
    access to a wide range of other formal and informal networks through which
    they can share and compare their experiences. The evidence shows that
    managers do use these opportunities for information-sharing when making
    changes to pay and working time systems. In practice, therefore, a looser
    form of benchmarking might already be widespread, and this might be a useful
    consideration to take into account when the Government - which regards
    benchmarking as a vital tool for improving employment relations and business
    performance - seeks to develop policy proposals in a White Paper in 1998.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    In 1993, the Restaurants and Brewery Workers Union in Denmark (Restaurations-
    og Bryggeriarbejder Forbund i Danmark, RBF) signed a collective agreement
    with a nationwide restaurant chain. RBF was able to come to terms with the
    restaurant chain, which was not a member of an employers' organisation, only
    by agreeing to less favourable terms and conditions (in terms of flexible
    working hours and overtime premia) than those specified in its main agreement
    with the sectoral employers' association, the Association of the Hotel,
    Restaurant, and Leisure Industry in Denmark (Hotel, Restaurations- og
    Turisterhvervets Arbejdsgiverforening, HORESTA).

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    Traditionally there has not been a great deal of rivalry over members between
    the different employers' organisations in Norway, and in most cases the
    boundaries between the largest organisations have been clear. Recently,
    however, there have been indications that in the future we will see increased
    rivalry over members. The two largest employers' organisations, the
    Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO) and the Commercial
    Employers' Association (HSH), both have ambitions of continued membership
    growth.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    At the beginning of December 1997, the Austrian Government announced plans
    for a "clean workplace campaign" (Aktion sauberer Arbeitsplatz) aimed at
    combating illegal employment. The main objective is to get a better grip on
    taxable income but a secondary aim is clearly to please the social partners
    after 1997's acrimonious pensions debate (AT9709134N [1]). At the Ministry of
    Labour, Health and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Gesundheit
    und Soziales, BMAGS), six working groups were set up with a remit to devise
    tighter controls and more adequate penalties. In all working groups, the
    social partners are included along with representatives of various
    ministries.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/pensions-reform-remains-a-divisive-issue

Series

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    This series reports on developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.  

  • COVID-19

    Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.

  • European Working Conditions Surveys

    The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.

  • European Restructuring Monitor

    The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.

  • Challenges and prospects in the EU

    Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.

  • European Company Survey 2019

    Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance. 

  • Sectoral social dialogue

    Eurofound's representativness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.

  • National social partners and policymaking

    This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).

  • New forms of employment

    This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.

  • European Company Surveys

    The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.

Forthcoming publications