European and international collaboration

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The methodology and questionnaires used in Eurofound’s pan-European surveys are freely available for use by other organisations, subject to certain copyright conditions, and many have expressed an interest in using our materials or collaborating with Eurofound.

European-level collaboration

Eurofound increased the sample size for the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2015 in Belgium, Slovenia and Spain at the request of their governments and at their own cost in order to carry out more in-depth analysis. Both Norway and Switzerland have been involved in the EWCS for a number of years, participating also in EWCS 2015.

Similarly, Eurofound increased the sample size for Italy for the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) 2016, which was requested and funded by Italy’s National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP).

Under the Memorandum of Understanding with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), Eurofound has provided EU-OSHA with useful insight into the development of survey methodology and survey design. EU-OSHA applied the methodology from Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) in its 2009 European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). The teams working on the ECS and ESENER are in regular contact to ensure lessons learned on each of the projects are shared between the agencies. Fieldwork for the fourth edition of the ECS starts in 2019, in partnership with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has used Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) questionnaire in the past to carry out surveys on quality of life in Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The European Commission (DG NEAR) supports the inclusion of the EU candidate countries in Eurofound’s surveys, on the basis of their expression of interest.

International collaboration

The EWCS questionnaire and methodology are a source of inspiration for other surveys in the world: for example, the American Working Conditions Survey, the South Korea Working Conditions Survey and the Israel social survey 2016. A limited number of EWCS questions have been included in the 2016 China Urban Labour Survey.

International Labour Organization

In order to overcome the lack of reliable data and information on working conditions in developing and transition countries, Eurofound and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have joined forces to develop projects on the monitoring and analysis of working conditions globally.

Eurofound is currently working with the ILO on a joint comparative report on monitoring working conditions around the world which will analyse developments in job quality and quality of working life in Europe, the USA, Turkey, China and South Korea.

Both organisations have also developed a standard methodology for a Global Working Conditions Survey (GWCS) to create a national-level open tool adaptable to fit best the needs of the country tripartite actors, which is an essential part of the ILO’s Decent Work Country Programmes.

International guidelines and policy monitoring

Eurofound has also contributed to the development of international statistical guidelines on measuring job quality and working life through surveys. Examples include:

The EWCS is also used to monitor developments in job quality, for example in the Joint Assessment Framework of the European Commission, or the OECD’s work on job quality. Eurostat uses some EWCS questions to monitor quality of employment in Europe.

In an international context, the EQLS provides a distinctive contribution due to its coverage of all the EU Member States, multifaceted information in one data set, as well as coverage of both the working and non-working population. EQLS data are part of several international monitoring initiatives:

  • Gender Equality Index by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) uses EQLS and EWCS data to cover the domain of time
  • Active Aging Index, supported by the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • Social Cohesion Radar (2013 and 2014) by the Bertelsmann Foundation

The EQLS has been an important source in both the research and public debate contributing to the development of the Commission’s Beyond GDP agenda. It has also been used in the development of a set of Eurostat indicators on quality of life.