Working conditions and sustainable work

Watch the webinar: #AskTheExpert - Key ingredients for the future of work: job quality and gender equality

Wed, 22/03/2023
Wed, 22/03/2023

Eurofound organised a live interactive webinar on ‘Key ingredients for the future of work: job quality and gender equality’ with a live Q&A on Wednesday 22 March 2023.

The debate

Senior research manager Agnès Parent-Thirion and research manager Jorge Cabrita explored the findings from the recently published European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS), drawing from over 70,000 workers in 36 European countries. It provides a wide-ranging picture of job quality across countries, occupations, sectors, gender and age groups in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey confirms persistent gender segregation in sectors, occupations and workplaces, indicating that we are a long way from the goals of equal opportunities for women and men at work and equal access to key decision-making positions in the workplace. In 2021, only one in five workers worked in a gender-balanced workplace, while just one-third of workers had a female boss. This calls for a redoubling of efforts to dismantle the stereotypes that limit women’s and men’s choices in work.

The evidence generated by the EWCTS illustrates the centrality of work and job quality in finding answers to a wide range of key policy challenges. It suggests that job quality must be mainstreamed in EU policies designed to address these challenges, and this will help to achieve a fair, just and sustainable transition and the goal that no one is left behind in the transition.

The findings suggest that job quality will play a critical role in addressing the demographic challenge, as it supports longer, healthier and better working lives together with an inclusive labour market.

Job quality will play a critical role in the EU’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy by ensuring that new jobs and roles support longer, healthier and better working lives. The findings show that new green jobs will potentially have better job quality. However, many existing jobs for which demand will increase in the green transition show poorer job quality, underlining the importance of also mainstreaming job quality in greening policies.

Moderated by Mary McCaughey, Eurofound’s Head of Information and Communication, the discussion digged into the findings from the EWCTS and addressed pressing questions, such as:

  • Why is understanding job quality important for improving working conditions for men and women?
  • Do women and men engage in paid work the same way? Why does unpaid work matter?
  • Do men and women have specific challenges in terms of job quality?

Watch the webinar


Moderator: Mary McCaughey

Mary is Head of Information and Communication in Eurofound, where she has worked since 2003. A graduate in Business and Politics from Trinity College, Dublin and an ‘ancienne’ of the College of Europe, Bruges, she began her career in journalism in Brussels in 1990 with Europe Information Service and the Wall Street Journal Europe. She subsequently contributed to the WSJE and the Irish Times as a features writer before taking up the post of spokesperson with the Delegation of the European Commission to South Africa in 1998, heading up its press and information department. In 2001, she moved to Belgrade, Serbia, where she worked as a communications consultant for the European Agency for Reconstruction.

Speaker: Agnès Parent-Thirion

Agnès is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, tasked with the planning, development and implementation of working conditions research projects, in particular the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and its analyses. She is responsible for the EWCTS 2021 extraordinary edition and for the preparation of the questionnaire for the EWCS 2024. Her research interests include working conditions, job quality, the monitoring of working conditions, work organisation, gender, the future of work and time. She has been working in the area of European comparative surveys for more than a decade, in all aspects including design, questionnaire development, fieldwork, quality control and analysis. She is involved in several statistical taskforces for the measurement of the 'Quality of employment'  (ILO-UNECE-EUROSTAT), the 'Quality of the working environment' (OECD), and the measure of psychosocial risks (the 'rapport Gollac'). She is a graduate in economics and management from Paris IX Dauphine and Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne universities, holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin and practices lifelong learning. Before joining Eurofound, she worked for a number of years in the European Commission.

Speaker: Jorge Cabrita

Jorge is a research manager in the Working Life unit. He is responsible for formulating, coordinating and managing European-wide research, and promoting the dissemination of findings in the areas of working conditions and industrial relations. His main research areas of interest include working conditions and job quality, working time and work–life balance, workers’ health and well-being, gender equality and the socioeconomic impacts of the transition to a climate-neutral economy. He is currently leading research on working conditions of the critical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid workplaces, and working time developments in the EU. Previously, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Studies for Social Intervention and at the Research Centre on the Portuguese Economy of the Lisbon School of Economics, and as a trainer and consultant in the areas of strategic management, organisational communication, leadership and team building. He holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Socio-Organisational Systems of Economic Activity from the Lisbon School of Economics.



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