Living and working in Europe
23 January 2023
Eurofound’s research captures the many dimensions of living and working in Europe. Each year, the Agency compiles a yearbook to provide a snapshot of what is happening in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of the previous year.Read more
Eurofound’s research captures the many dimensions of living and working in Europe. Each year, the Agency compiles a yearbook to provide a snapshot of what is happening in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of the previous year. This serves to inform the policy debate at EU and national levels. As the EU Agency whose vision is ‘to be Europe’s leading knowledge source for better life and work’, it was a priority for Eurofound in 2021 to capture the continued experience of living and working through a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the broader structural challenges affecting the EU.
- Listen to our new podcast: Living and working in Europe: Past, present and future
Key policy priorities at EU level are designed to address the main political, economic or social challenges faced by the EU and its citizRead more
Key policy priorities at EU level are designed to address the main political, economic or social challenges faced by the EU and its citizens. The European Commission’s six top priorities 2019-2024 also reflect the main priorities EU leaders set in the EU’s strategic agenda and, each year, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission agree on their top priorities. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the EU has adapted its priorities and programmes. In February 2021, it established the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). It is the central pillar of the recovery plan for Europe, Next Generation EU, to help Member States address the economic and social impact of the pandemic, while ensuring their economies take on the green and digital transitions to become more sustainable and resilient.
- European Commission: 2022 Commission work programme – key documents
Eurofound research on living and working in Europe feeds into a number of key EU policy areas centred, in particular, around The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan presented in March 2021; the move towards a Just Transition; and the Conference on the Future of Europe. Eurofound aims to provide knowledge to assist in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies that will lead to a strong social Europe focusing on jobs and skills for the future, and paving the way for a fair, inclusive and resilient socio-economic recovery.
- About us: EU priorities: Working for a strong social Europe
- European Commission: The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan
- European Commission: A strong social Europe for just transitions
- European Commission: Conference on the Future of Europe #TheFutureIsYours
Living and working in Europe 2021 covers a wide range of topics, from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment, work patterns and young people’s well-being to the inequalities in the employment and workingRead more
Living and working in Europe 2021 covers a wide range of topics, from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment, work patterns and young people’s well-being to the inequalities in the employment and working conditions of women and men. It also highlights the connections between Eurofound’s work and EU policy priorities around the green and digital transitions, upward convergence and the future of Europe.
In this light, the yearbook puts the spotlight on a number of important research areas.
The COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 stretched into 2021, and Europeans lived through a second year of readjusted reality, with real consequences for people’s lives and work situations.
In March 2021, one year into the pandemic, the launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan to turn the commitments of the Pillar into reality was timely, with the economy and labour markets in flux and many citizens feeling the sting. The Action Plan aims to secure the social rights of citizens so that the EU’s green and digital transition is fair and just for everyone.
Research focuses on:
- Who lost their jobs and who did not, as well as the efforts made by governments and the EU to keep people in employment, informed by Eurofound’s unique Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey
- The experience from the business perspective on work organisation and the future of teleworking
- How the pandemic restrictions changed the lives of the young generation
- The implications of the pandemic for the future of Europe: how much is it likely to have impeded progress on achieving social goals and upward social convergence in the EU over the coming years?
COVID-19 has been all-consuming, soaking up the attention, energy and resources of research and policymaking alike. Although the pandemic has drawn the spotlight away from long-term social challenges at the heart of the European project, the drive for better jobs, better living standards and better working conditions persists.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a deliberate move to connect with EU citizens. Launched in May 2021, it is expected to have conclusions in the first half of 2022.
Research focuses on:
- Topics tackled by Eurofound’s work in 2021 that aimed to provide evidence-based knowledge to fuel change and achieve upward convergence
- The widespread pessimism of Europeans about the future and the widening of wealth inequality
- Different aspects of gender inequality in employment, against the backdrop of the ambitious Social Pillar target to halve the gender employment gap by 2030
- Podcast: Gender equality
- Labour market participation and the chronic shortage of workers to sustain the EU economy
- The challenges ahead for the world of work as the economy evolves and digitalises
- Podcast: Sustainable work
The crisis has exposed the fault lines in European societies and played out along them. Eurofound’s work calls attention to many of those fault lines – those that run through life and work in Europe. They present many questions about the path ahead and the choices for policymakers.
In 2021, Eurofound began its 2021–2024 programming period, aptly titled ‘Towards recovery and resilience’. The EU pushed forward with the policy programme driving a recovery from the pandemic focused on a climate-neutral economy and a more equal society. The invasion of Ukraine at the end February 2022 has cast a shadow over the EU’s forward planning. Eurofound developed its work programme for 2022 prior to this event; as a result, much of the Agency’s focus will be on analysing the changed lives and work of Europeans resulting from the crisis born from the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Agency has adapted its work for the coming year, where feasible, to capture the consequences of the war.
Download the full yearbook:
- Publication: Living and working in Europe 2021
- Podcast: : Living and working in Europe: Past, present and future
Key outputs over the years
Publications & dataTop
The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic.
- Publications tab (35)
- Data tab
Living and working in Europe in an era of disruption: Gendered impacts, challenges and opportunitiesEvent 24 October 2022
Data related to this topic are linked below.
- Data: European Quality of Life Survey - Data visualisation
- Data: European Working Conditions Survey - Data visualisation
- Data: European Company Survey – Data visualisation
- Data: Living, working and COVID-19 data
- Data: COVID-19: Implications for employment and working life data
- Database: EU PolicyWatch
- Data: European Jobs Monitor
- Databases: European Restructuring Monitor