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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.

Relations with colleagues

How is the quality of the relations with colleagues measured? What is the proportion of employees who indicate to have good friends at work?

Employees often spend more time with their colleagues and superiors than with friends or their own family. A good working atmosphere therefore is of major importance when it comes to the quality of employment.

The information is based on the respondents’ self-assessment made as part of a Europe-wide survey on working conditions.

Relations with colleagues in 2010
in %
Relations with colleaguesTotalFemaleMale
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).
I have very good friends at work676469
I feel supported by my colleagues 697069

Two thirds have good friends at work

In 2010, 67% of the respondents in Germany indicated to have good friends at work. Another indicator of good workplace relationships is the support provided by colleagues. 81% of the respondents indicated to be supported by their colleagues often or in most cases. There were hardly any differences between men and women.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition:
Percentage of employees over 15 years who indicate to have very good friends at work in all employees over 15 years

Definition of good relations with colleagues:
Response categories “strongly agree”, “agree” to question: “Have very good friends at 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)

Relations with superiors

How is the quality of the relations with superiors measured? What is the proportion of employees who indicate to feel supported by their superiors?
To determine the exchange of information between employees and their direct superiors, the share of employees is shown who, in the last twelve months, felt supported or received feedback by their superiors.

The information is based on the respondents’ self-assessment made as part of a Europe-wide survey on working conditions.

Just under half of employees feel supported by their superiors

Getting support from superiors is another major criterion for the quality of employment. Just under half of the employees (47%) were supported by their superiors in 2010, according to their own assessment. Women indicated slightly more often (51%) than men (43%) to be supported.

There is a difference in age groups: support is decreasing with age. 15 to 24 year old persons feel more often supported by their superiors (60%) than those aged 25 to 44 years (about 46%) or people aged over 45 years (44%).

Relations with superiors in 2010
in %
Relations with superiorsTotalFemaleMale
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).
I receive help and support by my superior475143
I receive feedback from my direct superior on my perfomance at work  818082

Four in five receive feedback on their performance

By giving regular feedback on the performance of their staff members and by involving them in problem-solving, superiors show their appreciation, which reflects the quality of workplace relationships. Such behaviour is highly important for staff motivation.

81% of the surveyed employees indicated that they receive feedback on their performance by their superior.


Information on the Indicator

Description or definition:
Percentage of employees over 15 years who receive help and support by their superiors in all employees (over 15 years)
and
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who receive general feedback on their performance at work in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on feedback by their superior

Definition of “good relation with superior” in 2005 and 2010:
2005: employee receives “always” or “mostly“ help and support by the superior on demand
2010: employee receives “always” or “mostly“ help and support by the superior

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 Survey (EWCS): European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS)

Discrimination at work

What is the proportion of employees who are discriminated against at work because of age, sex or nationality?
The results are based on the respondents’ self-assessment. 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.

Reasons for harassmentEnlarge picture

Most frequent reason for discrimination: age

In 2010, almost one in ten employees (9%) in Germany was subject to discrimination at work. The reason for discrimination mentioned most frequently was age. About 5% of the employees felt discriminated against because of their age. Younger and older employees were particularly affected.

The second most frequent reason indicated was sex (1.3%) or nationality (1.5%). 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. Other reasons for discrimination were indicated as relevant more often by women than by men.

When compared across Europe, employees 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.

Discrimination at work,1 in 2010
in %
Countryin %

1 In the last 12 month before the survey.

Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)..

/ = No value available.

Belgium11
Bulgaria4
Czech Republic7
Denmark5
Germany9
Greece8
Spain5
France11
Ireland5
Italy3
Luxembourg 11
Hungary4
Netherlands6
Austria7
Poland3
Portugal4
Slovenia7
Slovakia5
Finland9
Sweden8
United Kingdom5
Croatia6
Turkey6
Norway5
Switzerland/
EU157


Information on the Indicator

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

Definition of discrimination:
- Discrimination due to unwanted sexual attention
- 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

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. People who are threatened or harassed are more often absent due to sickness.

Harassment and threats may occur as physical violence, sexual harassment or mobbing.

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

Harassment at work1, 2010
in %
Kind of HarassmentTotalFemaleMale

1 In the last 12 month prior to the survey.

Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

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

Harassment due to sex1.32.7/
Mobbing5.04.95.1
Physical violence1.8/2.2
Harassment of any kind7.58.17.0

Harassment at work

Mobbing, sexual harassment, physical violence or threat of violence have increased in the last few years. In 2010, 7.5% of the respondents indicated to have been harassed or threatened at work in the previous twelve months.

2% of the employees questioned mentioned to have been threatened with violence.

About 5% of the women and of the men were subject to harassment by mobbing. A similar strain was sexual harassment, by which particularly women are affected. A good 3% of the women surveyed indicated to have been sexually harassed in the previous twelve months. 3.7% of women had to deal with the weaker variant of unwanted sexual attention. Younger women suffer much more often from these two forms of harassment.

When compared across Europe, employees in Germany were not particularly affected by harassment. The proportions are generally rather small, which shows that harassment 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 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:
- sexual harassment (only 2010)
- mobbing
- physical violence (captured in 2005 by three indicators (threat of violence, practice of colleagues, practice of others) summarized into physical violence (threat and practice) in order to be comparable with 2010)

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.

Employees considering their job as meaningfulEnlarge picture

84% consider their job as meaningful

Most respondents considered their job as a meaningful activity in 2010. An average 84% of the employees questioned in Germany had that opinion. That was within the EU average of 83%. There were no differences in results either between men and women or between age groups.



Employees considering their job as meaningful in 2010
in %
Age from ... to ... years20052010
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).
15 - 246274
25 - 348182
35 - 447886
45 - 548185
55 - 647684
Total7783

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 (90%) than those in other occupations (79%).


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.

Persons in employment by work intensityEnlarge picture

Almost one in two persons in employment are subject to high work intensity

In 2010, almost half of the persons in employment (48%) indicated to be subject to high work intensity. Men were affected slightly more often (50%) than women (46%). On the whole, working at high speed causes a slightly higher burden than working to tight deadlines. High working speed was reported by 38% of the persons in employment, while the proportion of persons working to tight deadlines was 40%. 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.


Intensity of work is highest among the 25 to 34 year olds

In the age group of the 25 to 34 year olds, high work intensity was most frequent (56%). Persons in employment starting or ending their working life were least frequently subject to high intensity. Among the 15 to 24 year olds and the 55 to 64 year olds, too, high work intensity was not infrequent (43% each).

Plant operators and craft workers were affected most often

On the whole, the intensity of work in 2010 was highest for plant and machine operators (72%) and for craft workers (64%). Service workers, clerical support workers, technicians and managers indicated the lowest burden caused by time pressure and working speed, although the figure was over 40%. For professionals, everyday work was more often characterised by working to tight deadlines, while managers, people in elementary occupations, service and craft workers were more often confronted with working at very high speed. The difference between the burden caused by working at very high speed and that caused by tight deadlines is largest for service workers. Working to tight deadlines occurred in three out of ten cases, while the proportion of persons working at high speed was 39% in this occupational group.

Persons in employment by work intensity 2010
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 and assemblers57.159.072.3
Craft and related trades workers56.652.564.2
Elementary occupations43.238.148.4
Professionals33.038.346.8
Service and sales workers39.129.742.3
Technicians and associate professionals32.635.241.8
Managers 34.729.740.9
Clerical support workers 33.432.339.9
Total39.838.348.1


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.

Self-determination regarding work flowsEnlarge picture

Self-determination in the European average

No differences were observed where contributing ideas of one’s own is concerned. In the EU, an average 39% of the respondents were almost always or often in a position to implement ideas of their own. In Germany, the proportion equals exactly the average.

The older an employee, the more often own ideas are taken into account. Among the 15 to 24 year old persons 25% reported to feel that their ideas are implemented. At the end of a working career, the proportion rises to over 50%.

Those who can plan their tasks and work flows in a self-determined way will more easily be able to motivate themselves and do a good job.

Employees who can implement their own ideas at work in 2010
in %
Age from ... to ... years20052010

Source: European Working Conditions Survey

(EWCS).

15 - 243225
25 - 345031
35 - 444940
45 - 544543
55- 644749
Total4639

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
Percentage of employees (over 15 years) who can implement their own ideas at work in all employees (over 15 years) with valid information on implementation of ideas at work

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

“Implementation of own ideas“ means that the employees can implement “always“ or “mostly“ ideas of their own.

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.

Satisfaction with general working conditionsEnlarge picture

Just under 90% are satisfied with their working conditions

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 2010, too.



Employees who are satisfied with their general working conditions in 2010
in%
Age from ... to ... yearsvery
satisfied
satisfiednot very
satisfied
not at all
satisfied

Source: European Working Conditions Survey

(EWCS).

15 - 24266374
25 - 34296092
35 - 44325791
45 - 542264113
55 - 642363131
Total2761102

88% of the German employees were satisfied in general with their working conditions. This puts them above the EU average of 81%.

Satisfaction with general working conditons in EuropeEnlarge picture

Denmark is the leading country with 95%, the EU candidate countries have a satisfaction rate of just 65%. In Germany, 61% of the employees surveyed were satisfied with their working conditions. 27% were even very satisfied. Only 10% were not very satisfied and a minority (2%) were not at all 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

Organisational participation

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 persons employed have influence on operational decisions

Operational decisionsEnlarge picture

In 2010, 45% of the employees aged 15 to 64 years indicated to have influence on organisational decisions. No differences between the sexes are revealed.

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 just under one in four employees had influence on organisational decisions. Among the 25 to 34 year olds, the proportion was just over a third. In these two age groups, the proportion of employees who have influence on organisational decisions was largest (52% and 53%, respectively). 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 2010 in %
Age from ... to ... yearsin %
Source: European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
15 - 2423.7
25 - 3437.3
35 - 4448.3
45 - 5452.4
55 - 6452.7
Total45.1

Involvement in organisational decisions by firm size

On the whole, a U-shaped distribution of the influence of employees on organisational decisions is shown with regard to the firm size. The influence was greatest in very small and in large firms. The proportion of such persons employed in firms with fewer than five people was 56%, and it reached even 64% in companies with over 500 persons employed. The size class of firms with 50 to under 100 persons employed had the smallest proportion (35%), which is ten percentage points below the average.


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).

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2017

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