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 study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks 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 food and drinks 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 textiles and clothing 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.
This report offers a backward look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey ‘ Living, working and COVID-19’ which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through four rounds of the survey (two in 2020 and two in 2021), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers. A fifth round of the e-survey is planned for March–May 2022, with initial findings available in July.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the professional football 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 professional football sector in the EU Member States.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.