Final Report Summary - WOLIWEB (The socio-economic determinants of citizens' work life attitudes, preferences and perceptions, using data from the continuous web-based European Wage Indicator Survey')
The project focused on:
- Perceptions of pay discrimination by gender or ethnicity in relation to any factual pay gap.
- Preferences for more or fewer working hours in relation to working hours and household duties.
- Attitudes towards collective bargaining coverage in relation to actual coverage by agreements.
- Perceptions of job insecurity in relation to dismissals and reorganisations at the workplace.
The four major themes within WOLIWEB's work life research - pay, working time, job security, bargaining coverage - were covered by two work packages (WP2, WP3). For these analyses, data were collected by means of volunteer web-survey (WP5). The cross-country comparative data collection required a synchronized questionnaire. To ensure the national input in the questionnaire, as well as the country-specific analyses, a separate research work package for national input and output was assigned (WP4). The major effort in launching national websites and attracting a large public was assigned a separate work package (WP1). Because volunteer Internet surveying at a European scale was relatively new, and there could be methodological reservations, the methodology was extensively evaluated in a separate research work package (WP6). Finally, a separate work package was assigned to integration, coordination and dissemination activities (WP7). The seven work packages covered 27 deliverables, among others websites, papers, reports, a book (to be published), and a dataset.
In reporting year 1, websites in nine countries were established. A WageIndicator website included content about work and employment issues. It had a so-called Salary Checker, which was its most important part, because it attracted many visitors to the website.
Departing from the Dutch WageIndicator questionnaire, that existed since 2000, the web-survey was discussed with the partners in order to fit the major work-related issues in the nine countries. For this purpose, five draft state-of-the art reports with regard to measuring wages, working hours, collective bargaining coverage, job insecurity and occupations/industries were produced.
In reporting year 2, several draft reports were prepared, notably on wages and job security, for discussion.
In reporting year 2, the most important problems concerned the minor response at the Danish and Italian websites. Data-intake in Denmark and Italy was behind expectations. As for Denmark, the reason was that the trade unions were not inclined to cooperate, arguing that wages in Denmark were fully determined by collective bargaining and therefore no need was felt to present individually determined wages in a Salary Check on the Internet. As for Italy, the reason was that the new Italian partner did not join WOLIWEB until month 13. A meeting with the Italian partner and a new webpartner took place at June 14, 2006, in Milano, Italy.
The scientific objectives of the project were the following:
- The overall objective was to contribute to the understanding of citizens' work life attitudes, preferences and perceptions by a quantitative, nine-country analysis of the impact of a citizen's socio-economic framework on his/her attitudes, preferences, and perceptions with regard to this framework. This objective was met towards the end of the project. After the project period, the Spanish, Polish and Dutch partners have presented their papers at international scientific conferences. The papers on job insecurity and overtime work have been submitted to scientific journals.
- In order to restrict the large scientific field of socio-economic features, WOLIWEB aimed to focus its analyses on four issues that were of major importance in a citizen's work life: a) perceptions of pay discrimination by gender or ethnicity in relation to any factual pay gap; b) preferences for more or fewer working hours in relation to working hours and household duties; c) attitudes towards collective bargaining coverage in relation to actual coverage by agreements; d) perceptions of job insecurity in relation to dismissals and reorganisations at the workplace. This objective was fully met.
- In order to collect the data needed for the proposed analyses, WOLIWEB aimed to expand the Dutch web-based Wage Indicator Questionnaire to nine countries and to gather the responses of 350 000 citizens in these countries. The WOLIWEB project almost fully achieved its third aim. By the end of WOLIWEB project the responses of 323 000 citizens were collected.
- Because European data collection in work life research by means of an Internet survey was relatively new and the response could be skewed, WOLIWEB aimed to evaluate its experiences with the methodology of volunteer Internet-surveying extensively and to adequately weigh the collected data at national levels. This objective was met in several ways. First, the scheduled report was prepared. Second, the website (please see http://www.wageindicator.org/main/researchlab online) held an extensive overview of the methodology of web-surveys. Third, at several conferences the methodology was explained.
- In order to disseminate results, WOLIWEB would publish the research findings in papers, reports, a book, and on the project website, all addressing the international research community and beyond. It would publish national reports in the national languages of the countries involved. The dataset and related issues would be accessible to the research community. This objective was met in several ways. The project website was used to disseminate the papers and reports, to provide information about the WOLIWEB project and about the WageIndicator web-operation. Report D23 about the evaluation of Internet surveying was scheduled to be published as a book. Nine national reports were published, some in the national languages, others in English.
The five technical objectives of the project were the following:
- In order to have a questionnaire response for nine countries, WOLIWEB aimed to scale up the Dutch Wage Indicator Website and its two application tools (Salary Check, Questionnaire) to nine national Wage Indicator Websites, leaving room for couleur locale. In addition, the two tools would be implemented in other frequently visited national websites, safeguarding security on the Internet use for the purpose of this project. This objective was fully met.
In order to attract large numbers of visitors to the national websites and to provide feedback from the data collection to the public, WOLIWEB aimed to fill and update the Salary Checks with occupation-specific national data about wages gathered through the Questionnaire. This objective was also fully met.
In order to open up the national Wage Indicator Websites for the public at large and to ensure confidence in the information presented as well as in the reliability of the information left behind in the questionnaire, WOLIWEB aimed to form alliances with partners in the participating countries, mostly trade union or union confederations, or with website developing companies.
- In order to initiate sound national projects that were able to attract large numbers of web-visitors, WOLIWEB aimed to guide the national introduction of the websites by means of training, a handbook, a helpdesk, and support of the national partners' promotion efforts.
- In order to create added value at European level, WOLIWEB aimed to create a European Wage Indicator website with a Salary Check, where web-visitors could compare occupation-specific wages across the nine countries, corrected for purchasing power differences. This objective was partly met. All national Salary Checkers were accessible from the project website. However, it turned out that an international Salary Checker was technically more difficult to make than initially expected. Among others only a few occupations in the dataset contained sufficient response in all countries to create a Salary Checker.