The database of employee ownership in large European companies gathers all detailed information about employee ownership and employee share plans in each of all largest European companies. The database is available for research work and analysis. More information about use

The first idea for such a database was tested in 2005. Then, a comprehensive database was set up in 2006, thanks to the support of the European Commission – DG Employment and Social Affairs and a first presentation was made during the Sixth European Meeting of Employee Ownership in December 2006. Finally, the database was fully completed and updated for years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

From time to time within the last 20 years, some European reports gave information about employee ownership and its development across Europe. The most important reports were: PEPPER I Report in year 1991,  PEPPER II Report in year 1996 and a Report named "Recent trends in employee financial participation in the European Union" by Professor Erik Poutsma in 2001. At this time, these reports were practically the only source of information regarding the extent of employee ownership in the European Union. However, they were based on partial information (mainly enquiries) which was not made available before a very long delay. For instance, the 2001 Report was "based on the findings of the 1996 EPOC survey (Employee Direct Participation in Organisational Change), conducted on behalf of the [Dublin] Foundation." Finally, we didn't have relevant information for all countries of the European Union (for instance, the 2001 Report gave information about 10 countries, no more). The need for better and more recent information was crucial. On the one hand, we knew that employee ownership was developing. However, it was not possible to obtain timely information... We thought that probably a hiatus was growing between companies and practitioners on the one hand, and social and political actors on the other hand, presenting an incorrect picture of the whole issue. For this reason the European Federation of Employee Share Ownership (EFES) established this new database and the "Annual Economic Survey of Employee Ownership in European Countries". It is based on information pertaining to each of all the large European companies – which also means similar information for each of all European countries (in fact, at this stage, all 27 countries of the European countries, plus Norway and Switzerland). Furthermore, it is based on information produced by companies themselves in Annual Reports – this means timely information and of high quality.

The database gathers all detailed information about employee ownership and employee share plans in some 3.000 European companies. It can be useful for both macro- or microeconomic  research. For the 2009 Economic Survey, we limit ourselves to a selection of 2.475 largest European companies. This selection of 2.475 European groups includes:
- All listed groups whose market capitalisation was 200 million Euro and more in May 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009. It means that the survey involves all largest European groups, without any exception.
- Non-listed groups whose employees own 50% or more of the company, when employing 100 persons and more. We can assume that most of such non-listed European groups are included in our selection. However, this could not be considered as an exhaustive list. It is obvious that information is much more accurate and more available for listed companies than for non-listed ones. Such non-listed companies are mostly workers' cooperatives.
In 2009, 2.215 listed companies belong to the survey, together with 260 non-listed companies. Altogether, they employed 33.4 million people, not far from 30% of all European employees. Non-listed companies are mainly 172 workers' cooperatives.

Annual Reports are a good source of information about employee share ownership in large European companies, particularly the listed ones. International Financial Reporting Standards are more and more effective and the quality of information is increasing. Most large European companies divulge good information or even full detailed information regarding top executives: Individual remuneration, shareholdings, share grants, stock options granted or exercised, etc. Nearly all large European companies divulge considerable information regarding employees and employee share plans: When did they launch their first plan? Which plans they launched or stopped of reviewed, year after year. Which employees were benefiting of those plans: Categories, numbers.  How many shares were granted or sold to employees, how many stock options were granted or exercised… Finally, many large European companies divulge information about the number of employee shareholders (or members of workers' cooperatives).

Here is the detailed table of European companies in the 2009 Economic Survey:






For information and contact
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel/fax: +32 (0)2 242 64 30
Web site:
EFES' objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee ownership and participation in Europe.