Depopulation of rural areas and the concentration of employment and education opportunities in urban centres is a fact of modern life. What impact does this have on the quality of life of rural residents? Do they feel increasingly isolated, and what are the emerging trends? New research by Eurofound highlights differences in quality of life across the rural–urban divide and finds that while rural dwellers are more likely to have a sense of belonging in their community than urban residents, they are also more disconnected from the wider world.
Job quality is a major focus of policymakers around the world. For workers, the enterprises that employ them and for societies, there are benefits associated with high-quality jobs, and costs associated with poor-quality jobs. This report – the result of a pioneering project by the International Labour Organization and Eurofound – provides a comparative analysis of job quality covering approximately 1.2 billion workers in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Company restructuring may hit the headlines less in good times, but it remains a central experience in the working life of many. According to the most recent European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) data, just under one in three (30%) employees in the EU reported that restructuring had taken place at their workplace in the preceding three years. A similar proportion reported working in downsized workplaces. Large scale restructuring involving job loss is usually well-documented, and there is rightly a focus on what options there are for those who have lost their jobs. But what impact does all this have on those that are left behind?
Rural communities have distinctive patterns of economic development and social life. Previous research has highlighted a rural–urban divide across several dimensions of quality of life. For instance, living standards are lower on average in rural areas. This policy brief aims to draw policymakers’ attention to aspects of quality of life where rural dwellers are doing less well than the urban population, focusing on three topics: financial security, connectedness and life satisfaction.
This report addresses the rarely discussed issue of rest breaks at work across the European Union. Based on input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents, it reveals some of the complexities involved in defining whether such breaks should be paid or unpaid, how long they should be and where they should be taken.
Seniority entitlements have largely been on the decline since the 1990s, and have been gradually phased-out from legislation in Europe, as well as in collective agreements. However, it would be premature to dismiss seniority-based entitlements as a thing of the past, as they remain in force across Europe, even if the more expansive term of ‘relevant experience’ is preferred. As we look to the future, we ask whether seniority-based entitlements have a renewed role in a European labour market challenged by demographic ageing and a need to keep people working for longer, or whether they are a relic of the past that contribute to inter-generational inequity, under-performance, and lower employment prospects of older workers.
Seniority systems – schemes that allot improving employment rights or benefits to employees as their length of employment increases – have not been widely studied. This report provides the first comprehensive study comparing the design and spread of seniority-based entitlements (SBEs) in Europe and mapping related policy debates. It is primarily based on contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents, covering the 28 EU Member States and Norway, but also presents aggregate seniority-earnings curves for the EU based on data from the Structure of Earnings Survey.
The pilot project The Future of Manufacturing in Europe is an explorative and future-oriented study. It explores the future adoption of some key game-changing technologies and how this adoption can be promoted, even regionally. The analysis of implications for working life focuses primarily on tasks and skills, not only at the white-collar, tertiary-education level, but also for blue-collar occupations, including a focus on challenges facing national and company apprenticeship systems.
This report looks into the impact of the accelerated application of automation and digitisation technologies on the wage and tasks structure of employment in Europe. Despite the high level of uncertainty of these projections, the contribution of this report is to extend the analysis beyond just the technologically feasible substitution of workers by machines by incorporating some economics to the analysis.
Over the past four years a special project delegated to Eurofound has looked in detail at ongoing changes in manufacturing on a global scale, analysed how the industry will change further in the future, and assessed what the impacts will be for Europe. Looking at everything from changes in tasks for meat packers in Sweden, to the potential fallout of a trade war between the US, the EU and China, the remit of the project was expansive, and findings were detailed and diverse. They serve to highlight the potential labour market changes that will be brought about from automation and technological change in manufacturing.
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.
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
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.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity 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 electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas 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’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the gas sector in the EU Member States.
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.
The hospital sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and their workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus, and they face a number of significant challenges in terms of resources, work organisation and working conditions. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?