Eurofound has developed three regularly repeated pan-European surveys to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions. The surveys offer a unique source of comparative information on the quality of living and working conditions across the EU. Detailed analysis of the survey data allows Eurofound to identify new and emerging trends, as well as to gain deeper insight in the issues central to European policy. The results provide a strong basis for policymakers to identify opportunities for improvement and to develop forward-looking perspectives. The surveys are a key element in Eurofound’s mission to provide high-quality information and policy pointers for EU and national-level policymakers, social partners, researchers and European citizens alike.

In response to COVID-19, Eurofound designed and launched a unique and large-scale e-survey to capture the experience of living and working through a pandemic. 

European Company Survey (ECS)

Topics: The ECS gives an overview of workplace practices in European establishments. The survey targets both managers and employee representatives.

First survey: 2004–2005, launched as the European Survey on Working Time and Work–Life Balance. Covered 21 EU Member States

Second survey: 2009, launched under the new title European Company Survey, focusing on flexibility practices and the quality of social dialogue. Covered 30 countries including the 27 EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey

Third survey: 2013, focusing on work organisation, human resources management, employee participation and social dialogue. Covered 32 countries including 27 EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey

Fourth survey: 2019, carried out in partnership with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), focusing on work organisation, skills use and development, human resources management, employee participation and social dialogue. Covered 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom.  

Data explorer: European Company Survey – Data visualisation

Publication series: European Company Surveys

Next survey: The fifth ECS is tentatively scheduled for 2027

European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)

Topics: The EQLS provides a comprehensive portrait of living conditions in European countries. It contains a broad range of indicators on different dimensions of quality of life, both objective and subjective. Given the high level of interest in the quality of life of European citizens, the EQLS is increasingly important for Eurofound’s contribution to the political and academic debate.

Frequency: Every four to five years, since 2003

First survey: 2003. Covered 28 countries, including 25 EU Member States and 3 candidate countries of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey

Second survey: 2007. Covered 31 countries, including the 27 EU Member States, Norway and the candidate countries of Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey

Third survey: 2011. Covered 34 countries, including 27 EU Member States and 7 candidate or pre-accession countries: Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey

Fourth survey: 2016, with a specific focus on the quality of public services. Covered 33 countries, including the 28 EU Member States and the 5 candidate countries of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey

Data explorer: European Quality of Life Survey 2016 - Data visualisation

Publication series: European Quality of Life Surveys

Next: TBC

European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Topics: The EWCS is the longest running survey, and has become an established source of information about working conditions and the quality of work and employment. Having been implemented since 1990, it enables monitoring of long-term trends in working conditions in Europe. Themes covered include employment status, working time arrangements, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, worker participation, work–life balance, earnings and financial security, as well as work and health.

Frequency: Every five years

First survey: 1990–1991. Covered the EC12: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK

Second survey: 1995–1996. Covered the EU15: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the new Member States of Austria, Finland and Sweden

Third survey: 2000. Covered the EU15 and Norway in a first phase, with the survey being extended to the 12 'new' Member States in 2001, and Turkey in 2002 in a second phase

Fourth survey: 2005. Covered the EU27, Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland

Fifth survey: 2010. Covered the EU27, Croatia, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Turkey and Norway

Sixth survey: 2015. Covered the EU28, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, as well as Norway and Switzerland

EWCS 2020: The fieldwork for the seventh survey started in 2020, but after only seven weeks Eurofound was forced to terminate face-to-face fieldwork due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data explorer: European Working Conditions Survey – Data visualisation

Publication series: European Working Conditions Surveys

Next survey: EWCS 2021: Due to COVID-19, Eurofound will carry out a modified EWCS from March to July 2021 using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) for the first time. It will cover the 27 EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia

Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey

Eurofound has adjusted its research to monitor the evolving situation during the COVID-19 pandemic and to collect data regarding the impact on the lives of EU citizens and policy responses to mitigate the effects. The e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, was launched in April 2020 and has been carried out in three rounds to date.

Topics: The Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey aims to capture the far-reaching implications of the pandemic for the way people live and work across the EU, with the aim of helping policymakers to bring about an equal recovery from the crisis. The survey examined quality of life and quality of society during the pandemic, with questions ranging from life satisfaction, happiness and optimism, to health and levels of trust in institutions. It also focused on the work situation of respondents, their work–life balance and use of teleworking during the crisis. In the second round, questions also centred on job quality and health and safety at work, online schooling, use of online services, as well as the extent to which they had requested and availed of government support schemes. Additional questions in the third round cover attitudes and willingness to be vaccinated, trust in science, use of and trust in social media. New questions also examine access to and quality of public services during COVID-19. 

Round 1: 9–30 April 2020 – First findings 7 May 2020

Round 2: 22 June–27 July 2020 – Report 28 September 2020

Round 3: 8 February–30 March 2021 – First findings 10 May 2021

Results highlight the challenges facing the EU and issues for future focus, for example teleworking, the right to disconnect, health and well-being, working time and access to public services

Data: Living, working and COVID-19 data

Publication series: COVID-19

Next survey: Round 4 is planned for autumn 2021.