Luxembourg: Quality of Work Index

A second Quality of Work Index study, carried out in 2014, measures the perceived satisfaction of workers in Luxembourg with their employment and work–life balance. Almost two-thirds of all respondents said they were highly satisfied at work, but satisfaction was far higher (81%) among those who had a permanent employment contract.

Background

The 'Quality of Work Index Luxembourg' was commissioned by the Chamber of Employees of Luxembourg (CSL) and developed by the Integrative Research Unit of Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) at the University of Luxembourg. It was used for the first time in a pilot study in 2013. The study was replicated in 2014 with minor changes.

The aim of this project was to develop an instrument which would make it possible to disseminate information on working conditions and the labour market situation in Luxembourg’s changing society. It was also an answer to the Economic and Social Council of Luxembourg which noted in its advice on a system of indicators measuring well-being (in French, 700 MB PDF) that, on some indicators, workers were suffering. These included feelings of insecurity at work, mental health troubles, travel time from home to work, and workers' satisfaction about the balance between their working time and private life.

INSIDE set up the project, the analysis and scientific assessment of the data. TNS-ILRES selected the cross-section sample and conducted phone interviews in French, German, Luxemburgish and Portuguese.

Development of the Quality of Work Index

INSIDE began development of the Quality of Work Index by using factor analysis to identify six factors, or sub-indexes, which contribute to quality of work:

  • working conditions;
  • intensity and complexity of work;
  • well-being at work;
  • wages and training;
  • in-work room for manoeuvre;
  • employment perspectives.

Several components of the six sub-indexes were identified, making a total of 16 index components. 

The percentage of the variance of each sub-index within the global index was calculated. Of the global index, 26.8% is due to working conditions, 19.7% to intensity and complexity of work, 14.2% to well-being at work, 13.5% to wages and training, 13.3% to in-work room for manoeuvre, and 12.5% to employment perspectives.  

On the basis of the sub-indexes and their components, INSIDE drafted a questionnaire with 109 questions; of these, 34 were about sociodemographic factors and 75 about quality of work. The questions were merged into four parts:

  • sociodemographic situation (34 questions);
  • working conditions (36 questions);
  • well-being and health (33 questions);
  • social and economic context (six questions).

Sample selection by TNS-ILRES

A cross-section sample made up of 1,537 people working in Luxembourg was drawn up. As frontier workers represent more than 40% of Luxembourg's workforce, the sample was divided into 900 resident workers and 637 frontier workers. It took into account factors such as gender, nationality and education level. The sample was also selected to be representative of the following sectors:

  • industry;
  • construction;
  • accommodation and food service activities;
  • wholesale;
  • transportation of people;
  • transportation of goods;
  • financial activities;
  • cleaning and caretaking;
  • information and communication;
  • public administration;
  • human health and social work activities;
  • education;
  • research.  

Results of first study in 2013

The first interviews were conducted by phone between November 2012 and March 2013.

The 2013 Quality of Work Index report (in French, 1.1 MB PDF), drafted by INSIDE, presented findings on the global Quality of Work Index by factors such as sector, gender, degree of responsibility, level of educational attainment and training, age and family situation. For example, a high level of quality of work was observed in sectors such as public administration, information and communication, and education. A low quality of work level was found in human health and social work activities, and construction and particularly in accommodation and food service activities. The only gender-related differences were in opportunities for training and wages which were perceived by respondents to be better for men than for women. Results for each sub-index were reported in considerable detail.

2014 study

INFAS, a social sciences research institute in Bonn, was commissioned to conduct the second study. A total of 1,500 workers were interviewed by phone between May and July 2014. They were made up of 921 resident workers, 303 frontier workers from France, 157 frontier workers from Germany and 151 frontier workers from Belgium.

The 2014 study had an additional methodological element. The reliability of the sub-index scale was tested using Cronbach's Alpha method. It established that the first three sub-indexes were highly reliable and the remaining three less so. In addition, two sectors were put under special scrutiny: accommodation and food service activities, and transportation of people.

Main findings in 2014

Overall, the synthesis of responses to the 2014 questionnaire (in French, 6 MB PDF) produced the following findings. 

  • Satisfaction with working hours depends on the type of working contract; 81% of workers with a permanent employment contract described themselves as satisfied.
  • In general, working conditions were rated very positively, but 40% of workers reported that their work placed a physical burden on them, particularly among young men doing shift work.
  • Social relationships in the working environment were also reported as very positive; 84% of workers reported that they enjoyed good cooperation with co-workers, but only 45% reported good feedback. This finding should be considered in context with the findings on mobbing below.
  • 61% of workers said they were highly satisfied at work. Lower satisfaction rates were reported in sectors such as industry and financial activities. Satisfaction also seems to be age-related, being lower between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • Asked how Luxembourg's economic situation might develop in future, only 46% or respondents were optimistic. Luxembourg people were more sceptical about the situation than frontier workers or migrants from Portugal. Optimism remained relatively high in the financial sector (59%). Workers in public administration (32%) and human health and social work activities (27%) were the least optimistic.   

Differences between sectors in 2013 and 2014 were assessed for two index components: mobbing and burn-out. Mobbing belongs to the sub-index of working conditions. It ranked very well, meaning it does not really affect quality of work; the scale remained stable between 2013 and 2014 and differences between sectors were small. Burn-out belongs to the sub-index of wellbeing at work. There were important differences between sectors; in particular, respondents complained about burn-out in the cleaning, financial activities, and information and communication sectors.


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