Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Europeans are sedentary, but highly mobile as commuters and on business trips

20.10.2008
Even in times of rising demands to become mobile people in Europe prove to be surprisingly settled: They rarely relocate over large distances and they hardly migrate.

But Europeans nonetheless do develop manifold strategies to meet mobility requirements: They commute daily or weekly over long distances, they maintain long-distance relationships, they go on foreign assignments or frequently on long business trips.

Almost one in two people in gainful employment has experience with job-related spatial mobility. The most frequent way of being mobile is, by far, long-distance commuting: Among those who are mobile, 41 percent are long-distance commuters and spend at least two hours each day on their way to and from work.

Another 29 percent of mobile people spend at least 60 nights a year away from home – for example on business trips, as weekend commuters or as seasonal workers. 14 percent of job-related mobility is relocations within one country. Migration and foreign assignments only play a marginal role, with 4 percent altogether. 12 percent of mobile people are even mobile in more than one way.

These results are based on the first representative study on the spread, causes, and consequences of job-related spatial mobility in Europe. The study, entitled "Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe," is funded by the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Commission. It is carried out in France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Switzerland and Belgium, and is coordinated by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. For this research project, all in all 7,220 people aged 25 to 54 were interviewed. 16 percent of those in gainful employment are currently mobile; another 32 percent have had experience with mobility in the past. All in all, the differences in the extent of current mobility between the countries are small. At 18 percent, Germany has the highest proportion of mobile people in gainful employment; Switzerland has the lowest, with 13 percent.

The study also shows an increase in the need to become mobile professionally over the last 20 years. "People aged 30 today already have considerably more experience with mobility than those aged 50," project coordinator Professor Norbert Schneider from Mainz University sums up the findings on change in mobility.

Despite the widespread experience of job-related spatial mobility, the potential for further mobility must be considered as relatively low, the authors of the study believe. Among the currently non-mobile people in gainful employment 53 percent are reluctant to become mobile or are only willing to do so within very strict limits. In particular, the idea of relocating and leaving their accustomed main place of residence is rejected by a large majority. Europeans can more easily imagine commuting to a distant workplace. This preference, which corresponds to the actual distribution of the ways in which people are mobile, indicates that people are searching for compromises between distinct emotional ties to their home region and the labour market’s requirement to become mobile.

Europeans' experience of mobility strongly varies according to sex, age, and education. Men are more often mobile than women, young people more so than older ones, people with a university degree more than those without. The size of the company also matters. Employees of international enterprises are more mobile than those in small and medium-sized firms. Further differences are related to the way people are mobile. Whereas young people and those with a university degree tend to relocate, the elder ones and those without university education prefer to commute.

The causes of the increase in the need to be mobile have not only to do with the changing labour market; The rising labour market participation of women is also leading to greater mobility. For many couples, for example, weekend commuting is the only way of reconciling their partnership with both of their occupations.

Today mobility is taking on an increasingly ambivalent character: For some, it provides new opportunities and fosters social advancement. For others, mobility is the only way of avoiding unemployment and social decline. Professor Dr Anna Giza-Poleszczuk from Warsaw University points out the relevance of mobility as a survival strategy: "For one in four mobile people, mobility is the last chance to secure their livelihood."

Mobility can affect a wide range of aspects, from subjective well-being or health and social ties to family life. For example, mobility fosters a traditional division of responsibilities between women and men regarding childcare: While mobile men are further released from their responsibilities by their female partners this is much more rarely true for mobile women. This aggravates the problem of reconciling family, job, and mobility, especially for women. Furthermore, mobility inhibits family development, in particular for mobile women: Unlike mobile men, they tend to remain childless and even without a partner. In return, being a parent clearly reduces the readiness to become mobile, for men and especially for women.

Mobility does not necessarily have negative consequences on people’s well-being and satisfaction. It depends on how people are mobile. Weekend commuting and daily long-distance commuting in particular are often accompanied by considerable strains, whereas the strains of relocation tend to be less severe. Other than that the level of stress mainly depends on the working conditions and on the circumstances in which the people concerned have become mobile. "In particular when mobility is experienced as a constraint, as unforeseen, or unwanted, people feel especially burdened by it," emphasizes Professor Dr Gerardo Meil from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

"In times of rising demands to become professionally mobile, politics and business are called upon to develop new strategies to encourage Europeans' mobility and at the same time minimise the negative consequences of enhanced mobility," concludes Professor Norbert Schneider from the research results. Employers’ contribution could be to offer more flexibility regarding working hours, to allow employees to work at home more often, to take over a share of the financial costs of mobility, and to reduce individuals' need to be mobile.

Silvia Ruppenthal | alfa
Further information:
http://www.jobmob-and-famlives.eu
http://www.uni-mainz.de

Further reports about: Employment business trips mobile people unemployment

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>