progress last year for employee share ownership
addition to all the information on employee share
ownership and employee share plans, this new Survey
includes chapters on corporate governance (in particular
employee representation on board) and the ownership
structure of all large European companies.
reveals further progress last year for employee share ownership in Europe.
The rate of growth increased for the number of employee
shareholders, with 7.2 million people in large European
companies. If one adds one million employee shareholders
in SMEs, the total figure reaches 8.2 million.
They held 350 billion Euro in May 2019, increasing
to 400 billion Euro in early 2020. Assets held reached
50.000€ per person in 2019, and 27.000€ in 2019 if
top executive are excluded, compared to 13.000€ in
2009, an increase of 113% when the European stock
exchanges rose by 58% over the same period, - a good
illustration of the benefits of employee share ownership
for European employees.
of employee share ownership in large European companies
continued in 2019. More and more of them are organizing
employee share plans (see Graph). In 2019, 94% of
all large European companies had employee share ownership,
of which 89% had employee share plans of all kinds,
while 52% had "broad-based" plans for all
employees, and 62% had stock option plans. Finally,
31% of all large European companies launched new employee
share plans during the year, a proportion that keeps
increasing year by year.
this development responds to the general demand of
employees and companies. However employee share ownership
is still much more widespread and more democratised
in France, in the UK and in Nordic countries than
in Central/Eastern and Southern countries. Unfortunately,
the European Commission has still not taken any initiative
for convergence in this area.
the other hand, the new Survey reveals that two significant
employee shareholding ratios have been impacted recently
- the rate of democratisation of employee share ownership
in Europe and the stake held by employees in the ownership
structure of European companies. This started a year
ago but is much more marked now. This is due to very
specific and unexpected causes, in particular in French
the number of large workers' co-operatives is falling
everywhere in Europe, while other forms of employee
share ownership are flourishing. The UK and France
are the only European countries showing recent but
significant growth in the number of majority-employee-owned
unlisted companies. The number of such companies in
the UK increased from 36 in 2014 to 90 in 2019. This
is mainly due to the introduction in 2014 of legislation
promoting the new Employee Ownership Trust structure.
In France, it is caused rather by the many combined
Management and Employee Buy-Outs.