Influencing employment policies for 220 million European workers

Our research into European employment practices continues to inform and influence various policymaking organisations such as the European Commission, the European Trade Union Confederation and the International Labour Organisation on issues such as gender equality, wages, employment strategy and more.

Around 220 million workers in Europe are affected by EU employment, gender and wage laws, based on policies set by the European Commission (EC). At an international level, labour issues, particularly the setting of international labour standards and decent work for all, are the responsibility of the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The European Work and Employment Research Centre (EWERC) has played an influential role in developing a greater gender dimension to European employment policy, particularly with respect to mainstreaming and pay.

Our work has provided key evidence, insights and technical improvements on gender and pay issues for numerous policies and reports, for example:

  • Manual for Gender Mainstreaming, published by the EC in 2008 as a resource for policy-makers across the EU to ensure their proposals do not lead to gender inequality
  • European Employment Strategy (EES), to which all EU Member States are required to report on and implement
  • Position paper by the European Community of Practice on Gender Mainstreaming on the preparation of post-2014 European Structural Funds
  • Ad hoc Working Group of Member States representatives for EQUAL, a programme set up to address effective ways of integrating the principles of gender equality and gender mainstreaming into European Structural Funds Operational Programmes for 2007-2013
  • Industrial Relations in Europe (2012), a flagship EC publication highlighting research on public sector pay
  • ILO Global Wage Report (2008 and 2010), which informs employment policies around the world
  • Organisation of the ILO’s ‘Regulating for Decent Work’ conferences.

The two professors are also active on numerous European advisory boards and groups, for example the European Trade Union Institute, an EU high-level expert group chaired by the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, and the Scientific Board of the European Parliament Socialists and Democrats group’s ‘Progressive Economy Initiative’.

Our research

This research has involved:

  • Comparative assessments of employment policy in EU member states
  • Studies of how the service sector affects working time and the dynamic development of national employment and social models
  • Critique of labour market flexibility, “insider-outsider” debates and gender policies
  • Examination of the characteristics of wage systems across Europe, both in relation to low-wage labour markets and public sector pay and procurement systems.

Key findings:

  • Patterns of female employment rates shape country performance in reaching EU employment rate targets
  • Differences in wage-setting institutions help explain gender pay gaps
  • Differences in working time regimes shape work-life balance options and gender equality
  • Countries vary in their use of gender mainstreaming in employment and social policy.