This compendium of articles presents a snapshot of some of Eurofound’s most recent research, and highlights important 21st-century trends in quality of life and working conditions throughout the EU. It is organised around the six priority areas set out by the new European Commission for a transition to a fair, climate-neutral and digital Europe.
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.
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, conducted in two rounds – in April and in July 2020. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the live performance sector. 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 study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the live performance sector in the EU Member States.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
This report explores the impact of the use of digital technologies on work organisation and job quality, as well as the role of social dialogue and employee involvement in the digitisation process. The three technologies analysed are the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality. The report draws on the views of experts and policy stakeholders and includes insights from 10 case studies of European establishments that have deployed one or more of the three digital technologies.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.