European Company Surveys

The European Company Survey (ECS) has been carried out every four years since its inception in 2004-2005 as the European Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance (ESWT). The second survey (performed under the new title European Company Survey) was completed in 2009 and the third survey in 2013.

NEW The first findings of the 2013 survey are now online.

The survey has the following objectives:

  • map, assess and quantify information on company policies and practices across Europe on an harmonised basis;
  • analyse relationships between company practices and their impact as well as looking at practices from the point of view of structures at company level, focusing in particular on social dialogue;
  • monitor trends;
  • contribute to the European 2020 Strategy through mapping and understanding 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. The survey should allow for the development of homogeneous indicators on these issues for a European audience.

The ECS is a questionnaire-based representative sample survey carried out by telephone in the language(s) of the country. A special feature of the survey is that interviews take place with the manager responsible for human resources in the establishment and when possible with an employee representative. The first wave of the survey covered issues around working time arrangements and work-life balance at company level. The second wave looked at different forms of flexibility, including working-time flexibility, contractual flexibility, variable pay and financial participation, as well as accompanying human resource measures, and the nature and quality of workplace social dialogue. The third survey will look at workplace organisation, workplace innovation, employee participation and social dialogue in European workplaces.

Following the EU enlargement, the geographical scope of the survey has expanded over time:

  • First ECS (ESWT) in 2004-2005: 21 countries: 15 ‘old’ EU Member States and Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia
  • Second ECS in 2009: 30 countries including the 27 EU Member States, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey
  • Third ECS in 2013: 32 countries including 27 EU Member States and Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey