ECS 2019 - Methodology

In its European Company Survey (ECS), Eurofound has developed a unified methodological approach and quality assurance system to provide comparable and reliable data in all European countries. Over the years, the survey methodology has been improved, new concerns have been integrated and the geographical scope has expanded with the enlargements of the European Union. Despite the innovative methodology that was used for the ECS 2019, many elements of the approach developed in previous surveys could be applied to this survey as well.

Fieldwork period: January to July 2019

Contractor: Ipsos NV (Belgium)

Type of survey: The fourth edition of the European Company Survey (ECS 2019) is a survey of establishments in Europe. It is the first large-scale, cross-national establishment survey to use a push-to-web methodology. Establishments were contacted via telephone to identify a management respondent and, where present, an employee representative respondent who were subsequently asked to complete the questionnaire online (’push to web’).

Questionnaires: The questionnaires were prepared in cooperation with Eurofound's stakeholders and experts in the relevant fields. The questionnaires for the ECS 2013 were used as a starting point and adjustments were made to cover Cedefop’s interest in skills use and skills strategies, to broaden the analytical scope of the survey, and to ensure the questionnaires were suitable for online administration.

Coverage: 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom

Target population: Senior managers in charge of personnel and, where present, official employee representatives in establishments with 10 or more employees in all sectors involved in ‘market activities’ (NACE Rev. 2 categories of sectors of activity: mining and quarrying (B), manufacturing (C), electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D), water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E), construction (F), wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G), accommodation and food service activities (I), information and communication (J), transportation and storage (H), financial and insurance activities (K), real estate activities (L), professional, scientific and technical activities (M), administrative and support service activities (N), arts, entertainment and recreation (R), and other service activities (S)).

Sampling: Procedures differed between countries, using the best quality sampling frame that was available. Sampling was always stratified by establishment/company size and broad sector of activity (manufacturing, construction and services). In countries with an establishment-level sampling frame, stratified random probability sampling was applied. In countries with a company-level sampling frame, stratified random probability sampling was applied and subsequently a screening procedure was used to randomly select up to three establishments in multi-establishment companies.

Sample size: A total of 21,869 management interviews were completed, ranging from 122 in Cyprus to 1,498 in Italy. A total of 3,073 employee representative interviews were carried out, ranging from 3 in Cyprus to 467 in Finland. Finally, for 1,835 establishments both a management interview and an employee representative interview were completed, ranging from 2 in Ireland to 284 in France.

Weighting: A weight was constructed to ensure that the findings of the survey are representative of the target population in terms of the distribution across sectors, size classes and countries. It corrects for any disproportionalities in representation due to sampling design and non-response.

Quality assurance and control: Strict quality assurance and control measures were applied. A quality assurance framework was established in advance which covered the survey design and implementation. A designated quality control report was compiled. In addition, an external data quality asessment was carried out.

Further information is available in the Technical and fieldwork report.

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