EU Briefings highlight the CIPD’s most recent policy positions and research in relation to key EU employment-related developments. We produce comprehensive research across the world of work to ensure that employers and employees can benefit from better workplace policy and legislation throughout Europe.


Examines the main policy and practice issues that national governments and employers need to consider, such as

  • health and well-being
  • support with caring responsibilities
  • working time
  • managing retirement
  • countering prejudice and fostering an age diverse culture.

The findings enabled us to highlight examples of inspirational practice on the part of many employers in how they support the changing needs and aspirations of older workers, as well as develop some guiding principles that all employers, across geographical boundaries, can use to help them tap into the valuable skills, talent and experience of older workers.

'With life expectancy rising, many older workers have ageing parents, relatives or spouses
who need some degree of care, and responsibility for organising, or even carrying out,
this care is increasingly falling on these workers as the population ages.'

Examines the state of workers’ health and well-being across Europe, and how the Commission and other European agencies aim to improve workplace well-being.

While there may be some perceived limitations to the scope of the EU to affect substantial change in the workplace health and well-being agenda, the intention is to protect workers’ health and safety and maintain their well-being and monitor action by individual member states.

Following the launch of the CIPD’s major research and policy programme for well-being, we apply some key lessons to help build healthier workplaces in Europe.

'Good line management should be a feature that runs through many of the ‘domains’ in our health
and well-being model – not only is it central to healthy relationships in the workplace, it is a crucial part
of any organisation’s absence management and stress management provision as well as being a
core enabler for a supportive working environment and an open and collaborative culture.'

The increasing age of Europe's population and workforce has become a major policy focus at European level over the past few years. Given the ageing demographic and the fact that many people are living longer, an increasing proportion of workers have ageing or ill parents, spouses or relatives who need some degree of care.

This creates a challenge for employers and governments - how to optimise older workers' active participation in the labour market and extend their working lives.

The CIPD has commissioned research with the Institute for Employment Studies that examines the policy frameworks and initiatives on offer to support older workers in five European countries: the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany and the UK. This EU Briefing summarises some of the study's early findings and highlights areas where policy-makers and employers need to take action.

'Changes and/or reductions to employees' working arrangements can help them to both manage care responsibilities and have a positive impact on their health and well-being.'


Promoting productivity growth is crucial to improving competitiveness in Europe, but with an ageing and slowly growing population, the scope for just making more use of labour is limited. Over the longer term we must produce more with less, and there is a need for better utilisation of people’s skills and talent.

This EU briefing looks at the Commission’s perspective on productivity and at productivity levels across EU member states.

National governments’ macro-economic policies and EU-wide structural reforms have a significant role to play in boosting productivity, but the management practices used within a business can also have an impact. Our report Productivity: getting the best out of people explores some of the more micro-level workplace practices that can improve business performance. The research has been conducted in UK workplaces, so its application to organisations in other EU member states needs to be considered within each national context

In our research, the most commonly mentioned ways in which HR can help to raise productivity are through workforce and succession planning (60%), performance management (59%), improving leadership and management capability (51%) and training and development (51%). Our results also suggest that business leaders need to pay attention to organisational culture.

The briefing also looks at the spread of high-performance working practices in some countries, calling for ‘more debate around what we can learn from these models and how that learning could be used to drive improvement in other European countries, including the UK.’

Few will disagree that the gender pay gap remains one of the biggest barriers to achieving equality for women at work. Eurostat figures from March 2015 show women earning 16.4% less than men.

Equal pay for equal work has been enshrined as a principle in the EU’s founding treaties since 1957. The European Commission has taken several steps over the years to tackle the gender pay gap across the EU, and aims to close it through legislative and non-legislative means. Although there has been good progress, the gender pay differential has proved to be a persistent trend. On a global level, the International Labour Office (ILO) has noted that ‘without targeted action, at the current rate, pay equity between women and men will not be achieved before 2086….’

This EU Briefing looks at the state of play across Europe, highlighting considerable differences in the countries of the EU. It examines the root causes of the gender pay gap and the approaches that countries are taking to tackle the issue, looking in particular at the case of the UK, where the Government has put forward plans for pay transparency.

View the CIPD’s response to the UK Government’s consultation on its proposals for regulations requiring companies in the private and voluntary sectors with over 250 staff to publish gender pay information.

The UK Government encourages a voluntary approach to improving the gender balance in company boardrooms, but an EU initiative under negotiation in Brussels sets a minimum compulsory quota of 40% representation for each gender. These contrasting approaches raise crucial issues for female diversity: do we want or need compulsory quotas, and what are the most effective ways of improving the representation of women in senior roles?

This EU Briefing explains the aims and provisions of the proposed directive and looks at the state of play in Europe and the Norwegian gender quota law.

Drawing from a CIPD literature review, the Briefing looks at evidence of the impact of quota systems and the pros and cons of an enforcement approach. It also includes findings from a survey of CIPD members, in which 55% of respondents feel that a voluntary approach to setting organisational targets is more helpful than a mandatory quota system. However, respondents would like to see a more ambitious target for female diversity, with the majority advocating equal representation and a 50% voluntary target for women on boards.

The European Commission defines flexicurity as:

‘an integrated system for enhancing, at the same time, flexibility and security in the labour market; it attempts to reconcile employers’ need for a flexible workforce with workers’ need for security – confidence that they will not face long periods of unemployment’.

Although the idea may seem straightforward enough, getting to grips with the different components of flexicurity and understanding the diverging approaches of member states remains a challenge.

The CIPD commissioned The Work Foundation in the UK to undertake an analysis of employment regulation in OECD countries. The report of that study, Employment Regulation and the Labour Market, sheds a light on aspects of flexicurity across OECD countries, for example the link between the stringency of employment regulation and labour market outcomes such as productivity and job/employment security. This EU briefing highlights a selection of the key findings for EU member states.

This EU Briefing examines the policy issues around boosting the provision of enterprise education in the UK and Europe. It looks at how some UK education providers are embracing the challenge of integrating entrepreneurial learning in education and training.

Encouraging youth entrepreneurship is viewed as an essential driver of economic growth and job creation across Europe, and the EU has developed a range of initiatives to support this aim. Young people who have taken part in enterprise activities at school, college, university or elsewhere are much more likely to realise their entrepreneurial potential – improving their chances of productive employment as well as starting their own business.

The EU Briefing is based on CIPD research on entrepreneurship, including the kind of support that different demographic groups (including women and young people) may need.

Read our reports on inspiring:

Find out more about the Learning to Work programme


This EU Briefing aims to inform the debate about the impact of the increase in EU migrant workers on the UK labour market, and particularly on young UK-born workers.

Although there is evidence of a more competitive labour market for young people seeking low-skilled, entry-level roles, our research has found that employers that hire migrant workers are also more likely to offer work experience, internships and apprenticeships – all measures that help to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. UK employers who have turned to EU migrants to fill vacancies in recent years say they have done so because these recruits have brought the experience and commitment needed to support growth.

The EU Briefing is based on CIPD research that draws on a wide range of evidence, including data from:

  • the Office for National Statistics
  • the CIPD's quarterly survey of employers
  • five online focus groups of EU migrants and young UK-born workers and
  • ten semi-structured employer interviews.

The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the UK labour market

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