Photo header

Project overview and objectives

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


A sustainable workforce

A workforce is considered sustainable when:

  1. Employees have a productive output and are satisfied
  2. Organizations are profitable and workplaces cohesive
  3. National employment rates are high and the economy is flourishing

Social and economic changes indicate an urgent need to investments being made in a sustainable workforce. The increasing diversity of the workforce impel more research on investments in human and social capital; new ways of working call for in-depth research on the effects of flexibility policies within an organization; increasing participation rates of female employees make 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 contracts will help promote a sustainable workforce.


Organizations play a key role in building a sustainable workforce: they invest time and money in both 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 and secure contractual arrangements.


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


Research objectives

The main goals of the Sustainable Workforce project are:


  • To analyze the causes of organizational investments: Why do some organizations invest in a sustainable workforce while others do not?
  • To explore which employees are actually going to make use of these investments
  • To investigate the returns of these investments for individual employees, organizations and countries, in terms of, for example, increased job satisfaction, better performance and a flourishing economy


Societal impact

Sustainable Workforce is the first European research to collect information from organizations, HR-managers, as well as employees within a single study.


Our study will reveal which types of organizations are frontrunners and which lag behind in creating and maintaining a sustainable European workforce; and the outcome of this study will describe:


  • The considerations motivating organizations and employees when investing in human and social capital in order to overcome potential mismatches between labor supply and demand;
  • The conditions (including ICT) under which work-flexibility proves to be productive. Despite the new flexible worker paradigm, the productivity implications of work flexibility are not quite 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 increasingly 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 and knowledgeable 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.