On 10 February 2014, the European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions (Eurofound) released a comparative study on working conditions in 33 sectors. Four indicators of job quality – earnings, prospects, intrinsic job quality and working time quality – were reviewed by the Eurofound experts.

The report confirms that there are considerable variations across sectors. In relation to the set of four indicators, the situation is relatively good in the chemical industry, utilities supply, banking, insurance, real estate activities, legal and accounting activities, and financial services.

At the other end of the spectrum, Eurofound singles out administrative services, the agro-food industry, food and beverage services, textiles and clothing, transport and storage, and construction. In these sectors, a significant proportion of workers are faced with multiple disadvantages, such as low pay, relatively high levels of exposure to both physical and psychosocial risks, irregular working time arrangements, little or no control over working time, and few prospects for career improvement.

In terms of health and well-being, workers in sectors with poor job quality are approximately twice as likely to report negative outcomes as workers in sectors with good job quality. Similarly, workers in sectors with poor job quality are about half as likely to report that they will be able to do their job when they are 60 as workers in sectors with good job quality.

In order to meet the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the authors of the report think that "high priority should be given to the issue of sustainable work and employment, as this is a precondition for meeting the objective of high participation in employment".

The report was based on the data provided by the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

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