Impact of crisis on wages and working conditions in Europe

Wage moderation, pay freezes and sometimes pay cuts have been experienced in most EU member states in recent years, according to a report. The global crisis has hit vulnerable groups particularly hard.

The study, by a Dublin-based research group, examines the relationship between trends in earnings and working conditions in Europe since the crisis of 2008–2010.

Key points

  • The crisis has affected workers in most EU member states, leading to pay moderation or cuts.
  • Vulnerable groups – such as young people, migrants and those with low skills – have been hit particularly hard.
  • The crisis has affected employment even more than wages. Cuts in low-paid and temporary jobs, or reductions in working hours, tend to be the first measures adopted – whereas cutting wages is seen as harmful to motivating and retaining workers.

The authors add that average wage trends can hide important employment effects: wages can be cut but when a significant number of low-paid jobs are lost the impression may be created that the average trend is one of growth.

Source: Sem Vandekerckhove, Jan Van Peteghem and Guy Van Gyes, Wages and Working Conditions in the Crisis, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
Link: Report