Press release, 11 April 2012

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Eurofound co-organises conference on ‘Quality of work and employment’ with the European Parliament:

New research highlights importance of sustainable quality of work for Europe

(Dublin, Ireland) Results from the European Working Conditions Survey indicate that a significant proportion of workers are exposed to working conditions that are associated with reduced wellbeing. If recovery from the current economic crisis is to come through the ambitious Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, then policy must further focus on work and how to make it also more smart, sustainable and inclusive, participants at the joint European Parliament and Eurofound conference on ‘Quality of work and employment: a policy tool towards an inclusive and sustainable growth’ will hear in Brussels tomorrow, 12 April.

A number of factors are driving the debate about work in Europe today. First and foremost, the ageing of Europe which is likely to lead to a reduction in the size of our labour force; increased participation of women into the workforce – and the policy objective of pursuing this further; and the economic crisis which puts pressure on both public finances and the social climate. While the combined impact of these factors is unknown, ensuring that work is sustainable and inclusive will be a necessary part of responding to them.

‘To get a smart, inclusive and cohesive growth, as spelled out in the Europe 2020 Strategy, we must widen the policy agenda on quality of work and employment to ensure that it covers two key dimensions: a concern for the future of workers who hold job which combine a number of unfavourable features, such that the future participation in the labour market and career development of the workers is at risk; and the increased individualisation in society and the associated variety of individual preferences, which highlights the potential of the life course approach,’ says Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound’s Director.

To help further the debate, Eurofound is organising a conference entitled ‘Quality of work and employment: A policy tool towards an inclusive and sustainable growth’ with the participation of the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the support of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, in Brussels on 12 April 2012. With participants drawn from among EU and international institutions, social partners and experts, the event provides an opportunity for Eurofound to present findings from its latest European Working Conditions Survey.

The fifth European Working Conditions Survey (5EWCS) is based on interviews with 44,000 workers across 34 European countries. The first survey was carried out in 1990. The European Working Conditions Survey series aims to measure working conditions across European countries on a harmonised basis, to analyse relationships between different aspects of working conditions, to monitor trends over time, and to contribute to European policy development, in particular on quality of work and employment issues.

Analysis of the recent survey data helps to identify how certain working conditions are associated with better wellbeing among workers. Chief among them are creating a positive working climate that has no tolerance for discrimination, violence or bullying, and encourages social support by colleagues and managers; giving workers a voice, enabling them to be heard and to make improvements that clarify their roles and tasks; and creating a safe working environment, which encourages collaborative work. But important also are ways to address job insecurity, to take steps to improve workers’ career development and their participation in work over the life course, and to facilitate a good work –life balance.

See more information about the joint European Parliament and Eurofound event.

Follow the event on 12 April 2012 live on Livestream.

More information and access to the findings of the 5th European Working Conditions Survey is available.

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, media manager, on email:, telephone: +353-1-2043124, or mobile: +353-876-593 507.


The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite EU body that provides European social policymakers with comparative data, research and recommendations.

The fieldwork for the fifth EWCS took place from January to June 2010, with almost 44,000 workers interviewed in their homes in the EU27, Norway, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.

Figures from the EWCS are estimates, based on a representative sample of European workers and not on the whole population. Differences over time and between countries need to be interpreted with caution. The report discusses only those differences that are likely to reflect true differences rather than being the result of sampling errors.

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