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The COVID-19 pandemic continued to be a defining force in the lives and work of Europeans for a second year in 2021, and Eurofound continued its work of examining and recording the many and diverse impacts across the EU Member States. Living and working in Europe 2021 provides a snapshot of the changes to employment, work and living conditions in Europe, as gathered by Eurofound’s research activities in 2021. This yearbook also summarises the Agency’s findings on other challenging aspects of social and economic life – including gender equality in employment, wealth inequality and labour shortages – that will have a significant bearing on recovery from the pandemic, resilience in the face of the war in Ukraine, and a successful transition to a green and digital future. Eurofound’s research on working and living conditions in Europe provides a bedrock of evidence for input into social policymaking and achieving the Agency’s vision ‘to be Europe’s leading knowledge source for better life and work’.

The yearbook is accompanied by the Consolidated annual activity report 2021, which is the Agency’s formal reporting on operations, staff and budgets – see Related content.

The yearbook contains the following lists of tables and graphs.

List of tables

Table 1: Level of involvement of social partners in employment-protection measures, September 2020

Table 2: Change in employment levels, weekly hours worked and share of furloughed employees, year on year by quarter, by age and gender, EU27, 2019–2020

Table 3: Proportions of workers employed in NACE sectors, by age group, 2019 (%)

Table 4: Women’s share of employment (%) in nine occupational groups, EU27, 1998 and 2019

Table 5: Women’s employment share by broad sector, EU27 (%), 1998 and 2019

List of figures

Figure 1: Employment level (in millions), EU27, 2019–2020

Figure 2: Number of furloughed workers (in millions), by quarter, EU27, 2019–2020

Figure 3: Announced job loss, indicating whether or not COVID-19 was cited explicitly as a reason, and announced job creation, EU27 and Norway, Q1 2020–Q1 2021

Figure 4: Announced job loss in selected sectors (% of employment), indicating whether or not COVID-19 was cited as a reason, EU27 and Norway, March 2020–March 2021

Figure 5: Employment change, year on year (%),by sectoral category, EU27, 2019–2020 (Q2 and Q4)

Figure 6: Changes in employment levels and share of furloughed employees, year-on-year by quarter, EU Member States, 2019–2020

Figure 7: Employment change (in thousands), year on year, in the mostly non-essential sectors with the largest employment declines, EU27, 2019–2020

Figure 8: Change in employment levels among employees and self-employed, by quarter, EU27, 2019–2020

Figure 9: Actual versus predicted unemployment rates (%), EU Member States, 2020

Figure 10: Percentage of workers supported by employment-protection measures in selected sectors and Member States (%), March–August 2020

Figure 11: Proportion of jobs supported by governmental measures (%), EU Member States, April 2020

Figure 12: Maximum replacement rates available through employment-protection schemes (% of previous salary), EU Member States, March–September 2020

Figure 13: Response of businesses to COVID-19 (%), EU27, 2020

Figure 14: Extent of changes businesses made to their physical infrastructure due to COVID-19 (%), EU27, 2020

Figure 15: Extent to which encouraging autonomy and control became more important because of the pandemic (%), EU27

Figure 16: Extent of work autonomy and problem-solving in employees’ jobs (%), EU27, 2019 and 2020

Figure 17: Relative change in work autonomy and problem-solving, 2019 and 2020

Figure 18: Location of work during the pandemic (%), EU27

Figure 19: Telework preferences post-pandemic (%), EU27

Figure 20: Proportion of employees usually working from home in 2020 compared with the potential who could potentially work remotely (%), EU Member States

Figure 21: Percentage of workers who worked in their free time during COVID-19, by frequency and work location, EU27, July 2020

Figure 22: Average life satisfaction of young people, EU27, on a scale of 1–10, 2020–2021

Figure 23: % of young people at risk of depression, EU27, 2020–2021

Figure 24: % of young people optimistic about the future, EU27, 2020–2021

Figure 25: Trust in government and trust in the EU among young people, on a scale of 1–10, EU27, 2020–2021

Figure 26: Change in GDP per capita (%), by EU Member State, 2019–2020

Figure 27: Change in the unemployment rates of Member States (percentage points), 2019–2020

Figure 28: Estimated change in the AROPE rate, EU Member States, 2019–2020

Figure 29: Expected speed of economic recovery, EU Member States

Figure 30: Europeans’ opinions on the lives of future generations, EU27, 2018

Figure 31: Europeans’ opinions on the lives of future generations (%), EU Member States, 2018

Figure 32: Social Optimism Index scores (mean), EU Member States, 2019

Figure 33: Wealth concentration (%), by percentile in 21 HFCS countries, 2017

Figure 34: Average net wealth by Member State, 21 HFCS countries, 2017 (€)

Figure 35: Breakdown of wealth by wealth quintile, 21 HFCS countries, 2017 (€)

Figure 36: Employment share by gender concentration category (%), EU27, 1998 and 2019

Figure 37: Employment shifts by gender and by gender concentration category in percentage points, EU27, 1998–2019

Figure 38: Employment distribution by gender and job–wage quintile (thousands), EU27, 2019

Figure 39: Composition of company boards: % of women, by Member State, 2010 and 2018

Figure 40: Proportion of women on company boards: Member States with and without national gender-balance quotas compared, 2003–2020

Figure 41: Gender pay gap (%) and average wages, by occupation, EU, 2018

Figure 42: Gender pay gap (%) and average wages by sector, EU, 2018

Figure 43: Gender pay gap (%), by job–wage quintile, EU, 2018

Figure 44: Variable components of pay (%), by gender, EU27 and the UK, 2005–2015

Figure 45: Female employees reporting good prospects for career advancement and gender gap (%), EU27 and the UK, 2005–2015

Figure 46: Employee experience of selected emotional demands (%), by gender, EU27 and the UK, 2010 and 2015

Figure 47: Average weekly working hours of employees across the life course, by gender, EU27 and the UK, 2015

Figure 48: Job vacancy rates in the EU27 (%), by sector, Q2 2018–Q1 2021

Figure 49: Average job vacancy rate versus average unemployment rate, EU Member States, Q3 2020

Figure 50: Main shortage occupations – number of countries reporting shortages in different occupations, EU27, 2020

Figure 51: Prevalence of psychosocial workplace risks, 2005–2015

Figure 52: Effect of job demands and resources on health and well-being

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