Press release, 19 January 2010

Eurofound launches the fieldwork for the fifth European Working Conditions Survey:

A snapshot of working conditions in Europe today

Eurofound has just launched fieldwork for the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, involving face-to-face interviews of workers in 34 European countries. This critical and timely research tracks the current state of working conditions in Europe, highlights the quality of work and employment, and monitors changing trends. The first findings of the survey will be presented at the end of 2010.

The European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS) provide valuable and unique comparative information about working conditions, including issues such as working time, exposure to risks at work, health and safety at work, work organisation, work-life balance, training, and overall job satisfaction. The underlying aim is to help social policymakers improve overall living and working conditions. The surveys also offer opportunities for workers to make their voices heard about the state of their working conditions, how working conditions and quality of work affect their lives, and how these change over time.

In cooperation with Gallup-Europe, Eurofound will for the fifth edition of the EWCS interview around 43,000 workers in 34 European countries during the period January to April 2010. Each face-to-face interview will be carried out in the person's home, covers a list of 120 questions and lasts about 40 minutes. All the information gathered will be treated in the strictest confidentiality and the anonymity of each interviewee is guaranteed. The survey targets working people who are randomly selected from a statistical sample in each country, comprising a cross-section of society, ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 people per country.

Eurofound is an EU agency with a proven expertise in examining how people across Europe live and work, and how this is changing over time. Eurofound's research findings, data and recommendations allow social policy makers and company management at EU and national level to make decisions that improve workplaces and worklife balance for all.

To date, Eurofound has carried out four European Working Conditions Surveys (1991, 1995, 2000/2001 and 2005). The evolution of the European Working Conditions Surveys mirrors the changes in the European Union itself. In 1991, the survey covered just 12 countries; in 1995, this was expanded to include 15 countries, and in 2000 to 16 countries: the 15 EU Member States and Norway. The 2000 survey was extended in 2001 to cover the ten candidate countries for membership to the EU. The fourth survey, carried out in 2005, covered all 27 Member States of the EU plus Croatia, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway.

The fifth survey will cover the 27 EU Member States, the three EU candidate countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania: a total of 34 countries. This fifth edition of the survey is also an important landmark for Eurofound because it builds on the lessons learned from the previous four surveys and hence will provide a rich and varied picture of workplace trends in Europe over the last 20 years. The first results of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey will be made available before the end of 2010.

More information about the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, and results of previous editions of the surveys, is available free of charge at www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/surveys/index.htm

For further information about the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, contact

Note to the editor
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound – www.eurofound.europa.eu ) is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policymaking with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research. Eurofound was established by Council Regulation EEC No 1365/75 of 26 May 1975 and is located in Dublin, Ireland.

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