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.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.