The European Company Survey explores the strategies deployed by companies to meet their skill needs, through recruitment, HR development practices and work organisation; with special emphasis will be put on the impact of digitalisation.

To achieve sustainable, inclusive and smart growth, Europe needs competitive companies that offer decent jobs to workers. To perform at their best, companies need motivated workers with the right skills to do their job, and willing to use those skills to the best of their ability. To have sustainable, productive and fulfilling careers, workers need a stimulating work environment that recognises their input and facilitates their development.

Eurofound and Cedefop joined forces to carry out the fourth European Company Survey (ECS) in 2019. The ECS 2019 concerns workplace practices regarding work organisation, human resource management, skills use, skills strategies, digitalisation, direct employee participation and social dialogue. It allows for the identification of those bundles of workplace practices that work particularly well in creating win–win outcomes: situations where workers are facilitated and motivated to use their skills to the full, share their knowledge and insights with colleagues and management, and identify opportunities to improve both themselves and the work process as a whole, allowing establishments to thrive.

The ECS 2019 is the first large-scale, cross-national survey to use a push-to-web approach. The field work for the ECS 2019 took place in the first part of 2019. Over 25,000 establishments across all EU Member States were contacted via telephone to identify a management respondent, and, where possible, an employee representative respondent. Respondents were asked to fill out the survey questionnaire online.

This approach reduces the burden on respondents and is expected to improve the quality of responses. Moving the questionnaire administration fully online makes the ECS well and truly future-proof.

The overview report for the ECS 2019 describes patterns in workplace practices, and relate them to managerial strategies and outcomes for businesses and their employees.

Additional information can be found on Eurofound's website here. Selected indicators can be visualised here.

This ECS 2019 ensures continuity with core issues that have been explored previously by  Eurofound. However, this wave is informed by findings and expertise of Cedefop stemming from earlier projects:

  • Cedefop pilot survey on skills obsolescence, which showed the importance of the key role of organisations for workers’ ability to keep their skills up to date
  • Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey that showed the key role of workplace organisation in the way skills are utilised. Job tasks affects the extent to which workers draw on their skills and the adoption of a complex job design, including challenging duties, can lead to skill development.
  • Third, the survey questionnaire also borrows from the ongoing Cedefop analysis of eight qualitative case studies on learning strategies in successful companies from the project on  learning cultures in organizations.