This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in several sectors and activities that form a public service cluster across the 27 EU Member States and the UK – altogether employing over 57 million workers and representing 25% of the total workforce in the economy. It is based on Eurofound’s representativeness studies on the central government administration (CGA), education, human health, local and regional government (LRG), and social services sectors.
New technologies have a profound impact on the world of work. Among these, artificial intelligence (AI) presents challenges related not only to the automation of tasks but also to the quality of present and future jobs, as well as ethical dilemmas – what happens when algorithmic decisions lead to discriminatory practices in recruitment, people management or data protection?
The key word across Europe in response to the 2008 economic crisis was ‘austerity’, and its damaging legacy was borne mostly by young people. The key words in policy post-pandemic are ‘recovery’ and ‘resilience'. They mark a diametrically opposite approach that promises to be much more effective and human oriented. However, we need to study and understand the blow young people have suffered from this pandemic, in order to adjust recovery and resilience measures to their needs and equip them with the tools to actively shape their present and future. Recent research by Eurofound demonstrates the vulnerabilities of young people in terms of job stability, social inclusion and mental well-being. After the immediate anti-crisis measures, issues that were put on the backburner, because controlling the spread of the virus was paramount, are resurfacing and need to be addressed. Chief among them is this precarious position of Europe’s youth: without prioritising them in the present, we have little hope for the future.
The rapid rise of the platform economy has led to a marked transformation of European labour markets, and existing regulatory frameworks and voluntary initiatives have yet to catch up. While platform work offers opportunities for workers and employers and potentially contributes to innovation, economic growth and competitiveness in the EU, it has been criticised from the beginning because of the poor employment and working conditions often experienced by workers.
While high-street banks reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by accelerating the push to digitalisation and cutting jobs, some digital-only banks are recruiting new staff to meet growing demand. An example is the ‘disruptor’ bank Revolut which has recently announced the creation of 1,000 jobs worldwide, including in several EU Member States.
Following a long recovery from the economic crisis (2007–2013), young people in the EU proved to be more vulnerable to the effects of the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people were more likely than older groups to experience job loss, financial insecurity and mental health problems. They reported reduced life satisfaction and mental well-being associated with the stay-at-home requirements and school closures.
This briefing is co-produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and Eurofound. It is based on the results of two complementary analyses by the EEA and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) on the socioeconomic effects of climate policies, in the context of the European Green Deal and the EU transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the live performance 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 Eurofound’s studies on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the EU Member States.
While the number of employees earning the minimum wage has increased across Europe over the last decade, spurred by significant minimum wage hikes, a clear gender divide emerges, with minimum wage earners more likely to be women. Minimum wage earners are also more likely to live in materially deprived households.
Research into the transformative potential of the digital revolution tends to take a quantitative approach in an attempt to monitor changes in employment levels due to digitalisation. The fear of potential job losses and negative disruption brought about by digital technologies has permeated the policy debate on digitalisation. In contrast, this report, based on case study research, takes a more qualitative approach to exploring the impact of selected digital technologies (internet of things, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality) in the workplace.
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.
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, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.