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 into 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.
- European Company Survey (ECS)
- European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)
- European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
In addition to the three pan-European surveys, in response to COVID-19 Eurofound launched the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey in April 2020. This large-scale online survey, which uses non-probabilistic sampling methods, allowed Eurofound to capture the experience of living and working through a pandemic.
Read more on the individual surveys.
Topics: The ECS gives an overview of workplace practices in European establishments. The survey targets both managers and employee representatives.
ECS 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 the EU Member States and the United Kingdom. A follow-up online survey took place in 2020 to examine the impact of COVID-19 on business continuity and changes in workplace practices.
ECS 2013: Focusing on work organisation, human resources management, employee participation and social dialogue. Covered 32 countries including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey
ECS 2009: Launched under the new title European Company Survey, focusing on flexibility practices and the quality of social dialogue. Covered 30 countries including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey
ESWT 2004–2005: Launched as the European Survey on Working Time and Work–Life Balance. Covered the EU Member States
Data explorer: European Company Survey – Data visualisation
Publication series: European Company Surveys
Next survey: The next ECS is tentatively scheduled for 2028.
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 important for Eurofound’s contribution to the political and academic debate.
EQLS 2016: Specific focus on the quality of public services. Covered 33 countries, including the EU Member States, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey
EQLS 2012: Covered 34 countries, including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey
EQLS 2007: Covered 31 countries, including the EU Member States, Norway, Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey
EQLS 2003: Covered 28 countries, including the EU Member States, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey
Data explorer: European Quality of Life Survey - Data visualisation
Publication series: European Quality of Life Surveys
Next survey: The next EQLS is tentatively scheduled for 2026.
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 first implemented in 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.
EWCTS 2021 extraordinary edition: Due to COVID-19, Eurofound carried out a modified EWCS using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) for the first time. The survey covered the EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. First results will be presented in an overview report at the end of 2022.
EWCS 2020: After only seven weeks, Eurofound had to terminate face-to-face fieldwork due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EWCS 2015: Covered the EU Member States, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, as well as Norway and Switzerland
EWCS 2010: Covered the EU Member States, Croatia, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Turkey and Norway
EWCS 2005: Covered the EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland
EWCS 1995–1996: Covered the EU Member States
EWCS 1990–1991: Covered the EU Member States
Data explorer: European Working Conditions Survey – Data visualisation
Publication series: European Working Conditions Surveys
Next survey: The next survey is in preparation, with fieldwork planned for spring 2024. The EWCS 2024 will combine face-to-face and online data collection.
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. In April 2020, the Agency first launched the e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, completing a fifth iteration from 29 March to 2 May 2022.
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 covered attitudes and willingness to be vaccinated, trust in science, use of and trust in social media. Questions also examined access to and quality of public services during COVID-19.
While a continuation of previous surveys, the fifth round focuses less on vaccination and more on questions related to housing, living and financial conditions, and reflections on work–life balance including the division of labour at home. It also sheds light on a new uncertain reality caused by the war in Ukraine, record high inflation and sharp rises in the cost of living. First results from the fifth round are available on 7 July. Eurofound will publish a joint factsheet with the European Training Foundation presenting the final results in autumn 2022 (sign up to get notified once it is published).
Round 5: 29 March–2 May 2022
Round 4: 21 October–30 November 2021 (panel survey)
Round 3: 12 February–31 March 2021
Round 2: 22 June–27 July 2020
Round 1: 9 April–11 June 2020
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
Publication series: COVID-19