Gender inequality at work persists across Europe, despite the long standing attention paid and efforts made to tackle it. This Eurofound report presents a closer look at women’s and men’s working conditions, using data from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and complementing previous Eurofound research on, among other things, working time patterns, work–life balance and workers’ health.
2019 was a good year for gender equality in Europe: Ursula von der Leyen was elected as the first female president of the European Commission; the European Parliament had a record number of female MEPs elected; and the first ever Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, was appointed. On the downside, it was also a year when the gender pay gap in the EU remained intractably high, and efforts to reduce it are undermined by some on the political right.
The European Commission continues to consult on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, with a focus on assessing the EU social acquis, reflecting on new trends in work patterns and societies, and getting feedback on the outline of Pillar itself. Eurofound has generated a wealth of evidence on topics central to the Pillar including minimum wages, gender equality, youth employment, platform work, and an ageing society, and provides an essential knowledge source for the EU institutions, Member States and social partners as they implement the Pillar in 2020 and beyond.
At the very outset of its mandate, the new European Commission presented the European Green Deal, establishing the objective of becoming the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050. The initiative emphasises the seriousness which the European Commission places on the climate and biodiversity challenges Europe faces in the coming decades and proposes an unprecedented mobilisation of resources to finance a transition to a sustainable economy.
Against a background of growing polarisation, it is worth remembering the model of social dialogue that allows us each year to debate and reach thousands of agreements that start from different and distant positions and interests.
We hear more and more about the platform economy, with the debate often revolving around the potential long-term implications of its growth on the labour market and the impact on traditional and established businesses and industries.
Quality of life data show that in most countries, the capital city has advantages compared to the regions outside the capital. In light of the continued growth of capital city populations and the concentration of resources within them, this policy brief explores the source of the advantages of capital cities in quality of life. Are these advantages mostly related to specific demographics that these cities nurture and attract? Or do these advantages stem from opportunities that major cities provide due to their scale and economic growth?
Innovation and technological advancement are natural features of developed economies, and they are necessary to maintain and improve sustainable competitiveness in an era of globalisation. However, while most innovation tends to be incremental, some has a disruptive effect on production and service provision, the labour market and social dialogue.
The debate about the posting of workers in the EU, its economic and social consequences, and ways to manage it is hampered by the fact that reliable, comparable data on the phenomenon are lacking. Accurate statistics on the number of posted workers, their characteristics and working conditions are simply not available. This report maps existing information sources at the European and Member State levels, and identifies the gaps in, and the limitations of, data currently available.
Advances in ICT have opened the door to new ways of organising work. We are shifting from a regular, bureaucratic and ‘factory-based’ working time pattern towards a more flexible model of work. Telework and ICT-based mobile work (TICTM) has emerged in this transition, giving workers and employers the ability to adapt the time and location of work to their needs. Despite the flexibility and higher level of worker autonomy inherent in TICTM, there are risks that this work arrangement leads to the deterioration of work–life balance, higher stress levels and failing worker health.
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, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound's representativeness 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Given that compliance with lockdown measures is a first line of defence against COVID-19, maintaining trust in institutions is vital to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive and effective response to the pandemic. This report investigates developments in institutional and interpersonal trust across time, with a particular emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic period and its impact. It examines the link between trust and discontent and investigates the effect of multidimensional inequalities as a driver of distrust.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
Between 2021 and 2023 Eurofound is carrying out a pilot project on minimum wage on behalf of the European Commission. The question of how minimum wages and other forms of pay can be fixed for the self-employed is investigated as a part of this project through mapping national and sectoral approaches. Out of concern for the challenging conditions that the self-employed face, some Member States have established or are discussing establishing statutory forms of minimum pay for certain categories of self-employed.
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The report provides an overview of the scale of teleworking before and during the COVID-19 crisis and gives an indication of ‘teleworkability’ across sectors and occupations. Building on previous Eurofound research on remote work, the report investigates the way businesses introduced and supported teleworking during the pandemic, as well as the experience of workers who were working from home during the crisis. The report also looks at developments in regulations related to telework in Member States and provides a review of stakeholders’ positions.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.