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Indicators

Quality of employment

Dimension 7: Workplace relationships and work motivation

Information on Dimension 7

Workplace relationships and work motivation

People in employment normally spend a large part of their daily time with work. Hence, the cooperation with colleagues and superiors as well as the motivation for the exercise or the activity plays an important role in the assessment of the quality of employment.

Essential aspects of the cooperation are the relations with colleagues and superiors, the communication with their superior but also the existence of discrimination and harassment. Motivation and the degree of self-determination within the job denote to the identification with the activity.

Relationship with colleagues and supervisors

What is the proportion of employees who feel supported by their superiors and colleagues?

Additionally, an indicator on the exchange of information between employees and direct supervisors is presented. It gives the proportion of employees who had at least one open discussion about their own work performance with their supervisor in the last twelve months. The data are based on the self-assessment of the respondents as part of the European Working Conditions (EWCS). Often, working people spend more time with colleagues or supervisors than with friends or family. A good working atmosphere is therefore of central importance for the quality of the work.

Support from colleagues

An important positive aspect of work is a friendly work environment. In 2015, a total of 66% of respondents aged 15 and over said they were always or mostly supported by their colleagues.

Almost half of the employees are supported by their superiors

Supervisor support also plays an important role in the quality of cooperation and work evironment. Nearly half (44%) of the employees were supported by their superiors in 2015, according to their own assessment. Men were more likely to receive support at 45% than women (43%).

There is also a difference in the age groups: The support decreases with increasing age. People aged 15-34 years feel more supported by their supervisor (50%) than people aged 35 years and over (42%).

Relations with superiors in 2015
in %
Relations with superiorsTotalFemaleMale
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2015.
My supervisor / boss helps me and supports me444345
My direct supervisor / boss gives me feedback on my work646762

Four out of five employees receive feedback on job performance

Regular feedback from supervisors on work performance and involvement in problem solving by the boss is an expression of appreciation and therefore relevant to the quality of the cooperation and work environment. They are very important for the motivation of employees.

64% of the surveyed employees said that their supervisor gives them feedback on their work.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employees aged 15 or over who receive help and support from their supervisor in all employees (over 15 years)
and
Percentage of employees (aged 15 or over) who generally receive feedback from their supervisor about their work in all employees (aged 15 or over) with valid feedback from their supervisor.

Definition of "support and feedback"
Employee receives "always" or "mostly" help and support from the supervisor.
Employees generally receive feedback from their supervisor about their work.

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

For more information concerning EWCS, refer to:
European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).

Link to European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS)

Discrimination at work

What is the proportion of employed persons who are discriminated against at work because of age, sex or nationality?
The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment. Employed person aged 15 years and more are focussed.

Problems at work are often a cause of health problems. Various forms of discrimination contribute to psychological strain and stress. This leads to sometimes massive impairment not only of individual well-being but also of the efficiency of those concerned.

Most frequent reason for discrimination: age

Reasons for harassmentEnlarge picture

In 2015, 5.6% of the employed in Germany were subject to discrimination at work. The reason for discrimination mentioned most frequently was age. About 2.7% of the employed persons felt discriminated against because of their age. Younger persons were particularly affected.

The second most frequent reason indicated was sex (1.5%). Discrimination due to nationality or handicap (each 0.8%) were reported similarly frequent. Sex-specific discrimination concerned almost only women. Two percent of the women felt discriminated against due to their sex, while that type of discrimination was hardly relevant for men. Discrimination due to nationality leads to opposite results. In this case men feel rather more affected than women.

In general, younger people rather seem to indicate discrimination of all kinds. This could possibly be due to the fact that they have a different awareness and that elderly show already a kind habituation effect.

When compared across Europe, employed persons in Germany were not particularly affected by discrimination. The proportions are generally rather small, which shows that discrimination at work is more the exception than the rule in Germany.

As measuring such sensitive items is based on subjective information, the results should be interpreted with caution.

Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employed persons (over 15 years) who are discriminated at work in all employed persons (over 15 years) with valid information on discrimination at work.

Definition of discrimination:
- Discrimination due to sex
- Discrimination due to age
- Discrimination due to nationality
- Discrimination due to origin
- Discrimination due to religion
- Discrimination due to disablement
- Discrimination due to sexual orientation
- Discrimination of any kind

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

For more information concerning EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys.
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys

Harassment at work

What is the share of employees who are even harassed or threatened?
Harassment and threats at work are even more serious than discrimination. Harassment and threats may occur as physical violence, sexual harassment or mobbing.

Reasons for harassmentEnlarge picture

What is the share of employees who are even harassed or threatened?
Harassment and threats at work are even more serious than discrimination. Harassment and threats may occur as physical violence, sexual harassment or mobbing.

Problems at work are often a cause of health problems. Various forms of discrimination contribute to psychological strain and stress. This leads to sometimes massive impairment not only of individual well-being but also of the efficiency of those concerned.

The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment.



Harassment at work1, 2015
in %
Kind of HarassmentTotalFemaleMale

1 In the last 12 month prior to the survey.

/ = No response, because numerical value is not reliable enough.

Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

Verbal insult111012
Undesirable sexual approach23/
Threats3/5
Degrading behavior556
Sexual harassment12/
Mobbing harassment555
Harassment of any kind161516

Workplace harassment affects every sixth person

Mobbing, sexual harassment, physical violence or threat of violence have increased in the last few years. In 2015, 16% of the respondents indicated to have been harassed or threatened at work in the previous twelve months.

Employees indicated mainly verbal insult (11%) when talking about harassment. About 5% each were subject to harassment by humiliating behavior or mobbing. 3% of the employed were actually threatened with violence at their workplace.

Unwanted sexual approach, sexual harassment and physical violence occurred less often.

At 16% men are more affected by harassment than women at around 15%. Looking at the different forms of harassment in the workplace, further differences become clear: 5% of men reported threats. Also verbal insults were more frequent (12%) for men than for women (10%). A similarly strong difference was seen in humiliating behavior - 6% of men and 5% of women were affected.

Unwanted sexual approaches and sexual harassment are experienced significantly more often by women. Nearly 2% of the women surveyed said they had been sexually harassed in the past 12 months. 3% of women had to deal with the weaker variant, unwanted sexual attention. Younger women suffer much more from these two forms of harassment.

Since the measurement of such sensitive facts is based on subjective data, the results should be interpreted with caution. The above-mentioned increase in harassment over time may also be due to a change in perceptions and more openly addressing such issues in society.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who are harassed or threatened at work in the last 12 months in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on harassment and threats at work.

Harassment or threats are given:
- Verbal insult
- Undesirable sexual approach
- Threats
- Degrading behavior
- Sexual harassment
- Mobbing harassment
- Harassment of any kind

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey. (EWCS).

For more information concerning EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys.
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys

Identification with work

What is the proportion of employees who feel that they do a meaningful job and who identify with their work? The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment.

An important aspect of work motivation is a persons’ identification with the job performed. Ideally, employees consider their job as important and meaningful and can also contribute ideas of their own.

87% consider their job as meaningful

Employees considering their job as meaningfulEnlarge picture

Most respondents considered their job as a meaningful activity in 2015. An average 87% of the employees questioned in Germany had that opinion.



Employees considering their job as meaningful
in %
Age from ... to ... years20102015
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).
15 - 247482
25 - 348286
35 - 448687
45 - 548588
55 - 648488
Total8387

Differences by occupations

However, a considerable difference can be observed by looking at the qualification requirements for the current job: employees in higher qualified occupations considered their job as a meaningful activity to a greater extent (93%) than those in other occupations (83%).


Information on the Indicator

Description or Definition
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who do always or mostly a meaningful job in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on their job.

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

For more information concerning EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys.
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys.

Work intensity

What is the proportion of persons in employment who have to cope with tight deadlines at work or who have to work at very high speed?

Working speed and tight deadlines are two major indicators to cover work intensity. High work intensity may have a negative effect on the well-being and motivation of the persons in employment concerned. This means that work intensity is a major indicator to measure the quality of employment.

The results are based on the respondents' self-assessment. Persons in employment who indicate to work at very high speed or tight deadlines for at least three quarters of the time are considered to be persons subject to high work intensity.

40% of persons in employment are subject to high work intensity

Persons in employment by work intensityEnlarge picture

In 2015, 40% of the persons in employment aged 15-64 years indicated to be subject to high work intensity. Men were affected slightly more often (44%) than women (36%). On the whole, working at high speed causes a slightly higher burden than working to tight deadlines. High working speed was reported by 31% of the persons in employment, while the proportion of persons working to tight deadlines was 33%. This trend is also revealed when the sexes are examined separately. The results show that working at very high speed and tight deadlines often occur together.


Plant operators and craft workers were affected most often

On the whole, the intensity of work in 2015 was highest for plant and machine operators (56%), managers and executives (54%) as well as for craft workers (52%). Also strongly affected are unscilled workers with a share of 46%. In the midfield are academics (39%) and office workers (37%). Employees in service occupations as well as technicians estimated their burden due to time pressure or high work pace the lowest, but still over 30%.

Persons in employment by work intensity 2015
in %
Selected occupational groups Very high
working speed
Tight
deadlines
Very high working
speed or tight deadlines
Source: Results of the EWCS
Plant and machine operators, assemblers395056
Managers375254
Craft and related trades workers434552
Elemantary occupations403446
Professionals293639
Clerical support workers292937
Technicians and associate professional 242833
Service and sales workers 282332
Total313340


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of persons in employment (15 to 64 years) working at very high speed or to tight deadlines in all persons in employment (15 to 64 years) with valid answer to the questions of working speed and tight deadlines.

Definition: high working speed or tight deadlines
Persons in employment who work at least three quarters of the working time at very high working speed or to tight deadlines.

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for the interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey. (EWCS).

For more information EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).

Self-determination at workplace

What is the share of employees who can implement ideas of their own at work?
The proportion of employees who can organise and perform their work in a self-determined way is obtained through three questions. Are the respondents in a position to define themselves the sequence of tasks, the approach and the working speed?
The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment.

An important aspect of work motivation is a persons’ identification with the job performed. Ideally, employees consider their job as important and meaningful and can also contribute ideas of their own.

High degree of self-determination in the task fulfillment

Self-determination regarding work flowsEnlarge picture

Examining separately the indicators of self-determination shows a high degree of self-determination for each indicator.

Respondents were most likely to be able to influence the procedure approach for completing tasks themselves (76%). The impact on the working speed by the employees was not quite so obvious. Almost 70% of respondents were able to divide the pace and rhythm of the work themselves.

The least influenceable was the order of tasks. Only 62% of respondents could decide this aspect for themselves.

However, all three aspects together can be determined much less frequently. In total, only 52% were able to work independently in terms of procedure approach, sequence and rhythm.

Detailed analyzes show that the degree of self-determination differs greatly depending on the activity. In sectors and occupational groups that are primarily concerned with machinery or crafts, the degree of self-determination was lower than in office occupations.

High degree of self-determination in doing the job

Examining separately the indicators of self-determination shows a high degree of self-determination for each indicator.
The respondents were most often (70%) able to influence the approach of how to do their job. It was less frequent for employees to define their working speed themselves. About 60% of the respondents were able to define the speed and rhythm of their work themselves.

Influencing the sequence of tasks was least easy. Only 55% of the respondents were able to define it themselves.

It was much more seldom that employees could determine all three aspects themselves. Altogether, only 44% were able to do their job in a self-determined way in terms of approach, sequence and rhythm.

More detailed analyses show that the degree of self-determination differs substantially, depending on the job. In economic branches and occupational groups where people mostly operate machines or do crafts jobs, the degree of self-determination was lower than in office jobs.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who can organise and perform their work in a self-determined way in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on self-determination at work
and

Self-determination is defined as:
- self-determination of sequence of tasks
- self-determination in carrying out and the procedure of /to tasks
- free choice of work speed and rhythm

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

Information for interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

For more information concerning EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys.
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys

General satisfaction with working conditions

What is the general satisfaction with general working conditions altogether?
That indicator describes how satisfied German employees are in general with their working conditions.
The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment.

Nearly 60% are satisfied with their working conditions

Satisfaction with general working conditionsEnlarge picture

Even though the indicators of workplace relationships and work motivation were not excellent from all aspects in an international comparison, people in Germany were very satisfied with their general working conditions in 2015, too.



Employees who are satisfied with their general working conditions in 2015
in%
Age from ... to ... yearsvery
satisfied
satisfiednot very
satisfied

/ = No response, because numerical value is not reliable enough.

Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

15 - 243165/
25 - 34325710
35 - 4429619
45 - 54285912
55 - 64256114
Total296011

In Germany, 60% of the employees surveyed were satisfied with their working conditions. 29% were even very satisfied. Only 11% were not very satisfied.

The satisfaction of employees is equally distributed over sex and age. Additionally, the job performed and the level of education do not play a major role. There are slight differences in satisfaction only between economic branches: in the hotel and restaurant sector and the transport sector employees are less satisfied.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who are in general satisfied with their working conditions in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on their working conditions

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for the interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

For more information concerning (EWCS), refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS)

Involvement in Operational Decisions

Can employees exert influence on operational decisions that affect their work? Work organisation and everyday work processes are largely defined by organisational decisions. Consequently, the involvement of employees in such decisions has a major impact on the quality of their work.

The results are based on the respondents' self-assessment. This refers to employees who indicate to be always, or in most cases, involved in improving the work organisation or the work processes of the organisation.

Almost half of the employees have influence on operational decisions

Operational decisionsEnlarge picture

In 2015, 46% of the employees aged 15 to 64 years indicated to have influence on organisational decisions. Men (49%) have more influence than women (43%).



Organisational participation increases by age.

In the course of their working life, people get more and more involved in organisational decisions. In the age group of the 15 to 24 year olds, only every third employee had influence on organisational decisions. Among the 25 to 44 year olds, the proportion at 41% was in the mid-range. In the age group 45-54 years, 53% took part in decisions. It can be assumed that the age-specific differences are also due to the influence of the length of the duration of employment and to the work experience accumulated during the working life.

Proportion of employees with participation
on operational decisions 2015 in %
Age from ... to ... yearsin %
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
15 - 2436
25 - 3441
35 - 4441
45 - 5453
55 - 6448
Total46

Differences in type of participation

If the criteria for participation are considered separately, influencing decisions that are important for one's own work is more frequently stated (36%) than the possibility of influencing improvements in work organization or work processes (32%).

Participation in the selection of colleagues

A further example of participation in company decisions is to be able to take part in the selection of colleagues. 17% of employees were able to influence the selection of work colleagues. The proportion increases with age. Employees aged 45 to 54 years (19%) had the largest say in this. Overall, at 18%, men were slightly more likely to have a say than women (16%).

Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Percentage of employees (15 to 64 years) who can influence decisions that affect their work in all employees (15 to 64 years) with valid answer to the questions of organisational participation.

Definition: organisational participation
Employees who indicate to be involved in improving the work organisation or work process or to have influence on decisions that are important for their work in at least most of the time.

Source
European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Information for the interpretation
Results are based on the self-assessment of respondents in the European Working Conditions Survey. (EWCS).

For more information EWCS, refer to: European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).
Link to European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).

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