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Working Conditions

Working conditions in Germany - Requirements, strain and health

Changing working environments, possible implications of globalisation and the demographic development are factors that lead to the question: "How do we want to work in the future?". Changes of the working world can be directly observed when looking at the working conditions and requirements of employees. To describe the continuously transforming working world the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) have already carried out surveys since 1979. In order to include not only questions relating to requirements of qualification and the employment market respectively, but also with respect to stress and strain at work, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) became project partner in 1998/99. The survey 2005/2006 was implemented jointly by BIBB and BAuA, allowing them to focus even more on working conditions and resultant strain. The last BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey was conducted in 2011/2012.

The processed data that is available now offers differentiated, representative information about employees and workplaces in Germany. Based on these results questions about efficient qualification strategies can be answered and systematically be enhanced.
Furthermore, needs for intervention regarding safety and health at work become apparent. Different from many other studies this survey constitutes a representative sample of the working population in Germany. In addition it stands out, as the simultaneous collection of data about demands, mental states, strain and diseases enables the identification of correlations between stress and health impairments. Therefore the survey concentrates on the one hand on questions about the workplace (focus of activity, level of requirements regarding knowledge and job, demand for further training, working conditions, working strain, etc.), stress and health impairments and on the other hand on relations between education and occupation in the broader sense.

In the current - the sixth - survey 20.036 employees as from 15 years of age and with a weekly minimum of 10 hours of work were interviewed in Germany. Employment here refers to remunerated activity. Therefore work on an honorary basis as well as employment relationships in the context of vocational training were excluded. Foreigners were only included if they had sufficient levels of German. Although without fixed remuneration, unpaid family workers and people with at maximum three months of interruption were accepted. The survey was carried out computer-assisted per telephone, unlike the former enquiries that were done in face to face interviews.


In this factsheet series we present findings of the latest BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey 2012 in a simple and concise form. The factsheets provide the interested (or hurried) reader with fast and clear insights in the variety of the survey's topics and results.

Factsheet 1: Pressure of time, multitasking and others - Working conditions with high stress potential
Factsheet 2: Can you take it? Physically hard work still in the news
Factsheet 3: Working conditions in temporary employment
Factsheet 4: Working non-stop? - A plea for breaks
Factsheet 5: Demographic change at work - Heavy physical work puts more strain on older people
Factsheet 6: After work to the second job!? - Multiple jobholding of employees
Factsheet 7: Working when others have a day off - weekend working by employees
Factsheet 8: Restructuring companies - "risks and adverse effects"
Factsheet 9: Support by supervisors - trebly important, simply underestimated
Factsheet 10: Care work - working at the limit? - Working conditions in the care sector
Factsheet 11: Working conditions in the construction sector - heavy physical work persists despite technical progress
Factsheet 12: Fixed-term employment: a focus on working conditions
Factsheet 13: Working conditions in the German automotive industry
Factsheet 14: Demographic change in occupational groups - Working conditions and health of the generation 50plus
Factsheet 15: Night work in the spotlight - frequent stress at work remains a problem
Factsheet 16: A brave new world of trade? Working conditions in the retail sector
Factsheet 17: Beware of kneeling or squatting postures - knee pain in the working population


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