Eurofound has developed three regularly repeated pan-European surveys to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions. The surveys offer a unique source of comparative information on the quality of living and working conditions across the EU. Detailed analysis of the survey data allows Eurofound to identify new and emerging trends, as well as to gain deeper insight into the issues central to European policy. The results provide a strong basis for policymakers to identify opportunities for improvement and to develop forward-looking perspectives. The surveys are a key element in Eurofound’s mission to provide high-quality information and policy pointers for EU and national-level policymakers, social partners, researchers and European citizens alike.
- European Company Survey (ECS)
- European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)
- European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
In addition to the three pan-European surveys, in response to COVID-19 Eurofound launched the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey in April 2020. This large-scale online survey, which uses non-probabilistic sampling methods, allowed Eurofound to capture the experience of living and working through a pandemic.
Read more on the individual surveys.
European Company Survey (ECS)
Topics: The ECS gives an overview of workplace practices in European establishments. The survey targets both managers and employee representatives.
ECS 2019: Carried out in partnership with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop ), focusing on work organisation, skills use and development, human resources management, employee participation and social dialogue. Covered the EU Member States and the United Kingdom. A follow-up online survey took place in 2020 to examine the impact of COVID-19 on business continuity and changes in workplace practices.
ECS 2013: Focusing on work organisation, human resources management, employee participation and social dialogue. Covered 32 countries including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey
ECS 2009: Launched under the new title European Company Survey, focusing on flexibility practices and the quality of social dialogue. Covered 30 countries including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey
ESWT 2004–2005: Launched as the European Survey on Working Time and Work–Life Balance. Covered the EU Member States
Data explorer: European Company Survey – Data visualisation
Publication series: European Company Surveys
Next survey: The next ECS is tentatively scheduled for 2028.
European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)
Topics: The EQLS provides a comprehensive portrait of living conditions in European countries. It contains a broad range of indicators on different dimensions of quality of life, both objective and subjective. Given the high level of interest in the quality of life of European citizens, the EQLS is important for Eurofound’s contribution to the political and academic debate.
EQLS 2016: Specific focus on the quality of public services. Covered 33 countries, including the EU Member States, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey
EQLS 2012: Covered 34 countries, including the EU Member States, Croatia, North Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey
EQLS 2007: Covered 31 countries, including the EU Member States, Norway, Croatia, North Macedonia and Turkey
EQLS 2003: Covered 28 countries, including the EU Member States, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey
Data explorer: European Quality of Life Survey - Data visualisation
Publication series: European Quality of Life Surveys
Next survey: The next EQLS is tentatively scheduled for 2026.
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
Topics: The EWCS is the longest running survey and has become an established source of information about working conditions and the quality of work and employment. Having been first implemented in 1990, it enables monitoring of long-term trends in working conditions in Europe. Themes covered include employment status, working time arrangements, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, worker participation, work–life balance, earnings and financial security, as well as work and health.
EWCS 2024: This edition will comprise both face-to-face interviewing to ensure the measurement of trends and a test component of push-to-web interviewing with a view to future-proofing the survey. It will cover all EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and possibly the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) countries.
EWCTS 2021: Due to COVID-19, Eurofound carried out a modified EWCS using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) for the first time. The survey covered the EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
EWCS 2020: After only seven weeks, Eurofound had to terminate face-to-face fieldwork due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EWCS 2015: Covered the EU Member States, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, as well as Norway and Switzerland
EWCS 2010: Covered the EU Member States, Croatia, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Turkey and Norway
EWCS 2005: Covered the EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland
EWCS 2000-2002: Covered the EU Member States and Norway in a first phase, with the survey being extended to the 12 'new' Member States in 2001, and Turkey in 2002 in a second phase
EWCS 1995–1996: Covered the EU Member States
EWCS 1990–1991: Covered the EU Member States
Data explorer: European Working Conditions Survey – Data visualisation
Publication series: European Working Conditions Surveys
Next survey: Fieldwork is planned to start in February 2024 with first results and data due at the end of 2025.
Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey
Eurofound has adjusted its research to monitor the evolving situation during the COVID-19 pandemic and to collect data regarding the impact on the lives of EU citizens and policy responses to mitigate the effects. In April 2020, the Agency launched the e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, completing a fifth round in spring 2022.
Topics: The Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey aims to capture the far-reaching implications of the pandemic for the way people live and work across the EU, with the aim of helping policymakers to bring about an equal recovery from the crisis. The survey examined quality of life and quality of society during the pandemic, with questions ranging from life satisfaction, happiness and optimism, to health and levels of trust in institutions. It also focused on the work situation of respondents, their work–life balance and use of teleworking during the crisis. In the second round, questions also centred on job quality and health and safety at work, online schooling, use of online services, as well as the extent to which they had requested and availed of government support schemes. Questions also examined access to and quality of public services during COVID-19. The fourth round was a panel survey, recontacting panel respondents only, making it possible to track developments since the start of the pandemic.
While a continuation of previous surveys, the fifth round focuses more on questions related to housing, living and financial conditions, and reflections on teleworking and work–life balance, including the division of labour at home. It also sheds light on a new uncertain reality caused by the war in Ukraine, record- high inflation and sharp rises in the cost of living. In parallel, the European Training Foundation (ETF) used a shortened questionnaire to field a pilot e-survey in 10 EU neighbouring countries. First results from the fifth round were published in July 2022 and a joint Eurofound-ETF factsheet presenting a selection of the final results of the social and economic situation of respondents in the EU27 and 10 additional countries was published in December 2022.
Round 5: 29 March–2 May 2022
Round 4: 21 October–30 November 2021 (panel survey)
Round 3: 12 February–31 March 2021
Round 2: 22 June–27 July 2020
Round 1: 9 April–11 June 2020
Results highlight the challenges facing the EU and issues for future focus, for example teleworking, the right to disconnect, health and well-being, working time and access to public services
Data explorer: Living, working and COVID-19 data
Publication series: COVID-19
Infographic: Living, working and COVID-19
Further information on the surveys
- ECS: Gijs van Houten
- EQLS: Massimiliano Mascherini
- EWCS: Sophia MacGoris
- COVID-19 e-survey: Daphne Ahrendt