[Excerpt] This report examines the evidence and policy lessons that can be drawn from the findings of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) carried out in 2010. The focus is on the links between working conditions and labour market participation in the light of the EU’s longstanding policy pursuit of more and better jobs. The report also assesses how the EWCS is valued by policy users and researchers, and where its further development or usage could enhance EU policy on employment and social developments.
The contribution of the fifth EWCS was assessed on the basis of the mix of evidence available to policymakers, including:
- the extent to which EWCS data or findings are cited or used by representatives of European and national authorities, research centres and researchers;
- secondary analyses of EWCS data and other research which addresses current policy concerns;
- interviews with key users of EWCS data, especially those working in EU-level policymaking and research centres.
The current economic and social policy concerns and objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy are not dramatically different from those in earlier times. However, there has been a steady increase in the level of cooperation between Member States around a mutual learning and target-based approach, supported by greater use of monitoring indicators.
While the EWCS initially focused on evidence on working conditions, it has progressively developed its coverage. Today it embraces a range of issues including workplace organisation and innovation, patterns of working time and job quality.
The EWCS has been particularly successful in highlighting trends, convergences and divergences through the development of indicators of policy concerns such as the quality of jobs or workplace risks (physical or psychological). It has provided new insights and understanding – often through innovative multidisciplinary research – on matters such as the relationship between different aspects of life at the workplace, and between the workplace and the household.