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Project overview and objectives

Sustainable Workforce is a European scientific research project. It investigates the role of organizations in creating a sustainable workforce.


A sustainable workforce

A workforce is considered sustainable when:

  • Employees are productive and satisfied
  • Organizations are profitable and workplaces cohesive
  • National employment rates are high and the economy is flourishing


Social and economic changes indicate an urgent need to study investments in a sustainable workforce. The increasing diversity of the workforce impel more research on investments in human and social capital; new work forms call for in-depth research on the effect of an organization’s flexibility policy; the growing female employment participation rate makes the study of work-life policies all the more relevant; an ageing population requires examination of the employability of older employees in organizations; and insecure labor markets demand more research into which kinds of employment contract will help promote a sustainable workforce.


Organizations play a key role in building a sustainable workforce: they invest time and money in human and social capital, create opportunities for flexible work, develop work-life policies, try to enhance the long-term employability of older workers, and invest in flexible but secure contractual arrangements.


Our program will explore the causes and consequences of such investments for organizations and employees. The Sustainable Workforce Survey collects information of organizations, managers and employees in the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Bulgaria.


Research objectives

The main aims of the Sustainable Workforce project are:


  • To analyze the causes of organizational investments: why do some organizations  investigate in a sustainable workforce and other do not?
  • To explore which employees are actually using these investments
  • To investigate the returns on these investments for individual employees, organizations and countries, in terms of, e.g., increased job satisfacion, better performance and a flourishing economy


Societal impact

Sustainable Workforce is the first European research that collects information from organizations, HR-managers, and employees within a signle study.


It will reveal which types of organizations are frontrunners and which lag behind in creating and maintaining a sustainable European workforce, and describe:


  • The considerations motivating organizations and employees when investing in human and social capital to overcome potential mismatches between labor supply and demand;
  • The conditions (including ICT) under which work-flexibility is productive. Despite the new flexible worker paradigm, the productivity implications of work flexibility are not clear;
  • The extent and nature of work-life policies needed to increase the employment participation rate of women. Work-family conflict undermines job satisfaction and well-being, and workers turn to a growing variety of methods to try to manage work and personal life, making this matter more and more crucial;
  • The conditions under which older workers are mobilized as resources to enhance organizational performance. Projected tight labor markets require better use of experienced workers; organizations are being forced to consider how to tailor job options for different age groups;
  • The conditions under which flexible contractual arrangements enhance a sustainable workforce.