Working conditions in Germany - Strains, requirements 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?". With respect to this matter future-oriented actions far beyond the political area are being developed. Changes of the working world can be directly observed when looking at the modified 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 Market and Occupational Research (IAB) have already carried out surveys since 1978. In order to include not only questions relating to requirements of qualification and the employment market respectively, but also with respect to stresses and strains at work, the Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) became project partner in 1998/99.
The last survey (2005/2006) was implemented jointly by BIBB and BAuA, allowing them to focus even more on working conditions and resultant strains.
The processed data that is available now offers differentiated, representative information about employees and work places 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 addition it stands out, as the simultaneous collection of data about strains, mental states and diseases enables the identification of correlations between stresses and physical 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 strains, etc.), stresses and physical impairments and on the other hand on relations between education and occupation in the broader sense.
In the current - the fifth - survey 20 000 employees as from 15 years of age 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.