Subscribe  /  Unsubscribe  /  Membership                                                       


Further progress last year for employee share ownership


The new "Annual Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership in European Countries" is just released
More information


in partnership with

Further progress last year for employee share ownership

In 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.

The Survey 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.

The development 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.

Obviously, 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.

On 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 listed companies.

Finally, 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.

Press review
We have a selection of 28 remarkable articles in 12 countries in February 2020: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, UK, USA.
Australia: Are Mondragon's cooperative ideas transferable to Australia?
Belgium: The Minister of SMEs wants to revive employee share ownership.
China: Employee share plans in Shenzhen stock exchange.
Denmark: New employee share plan for Jyske Sparekasse.
France: Vinci's 100.000 employees in France become Group shareholders. New employee share plans for Eiffage, for Schneider Electric. Eres reveals fresh information about employee share plans in 2019.
Germany: New calls for legislation of employee share ownership for startups.
India: Stock option plans in India and new incentives for startups.
Netherlands: Two noteworthy SMEs for employee share ownership in The Netherlands.
Serbia: New incentives for stock options in Serbia.
Spain: New employee share plan for Repsol.
UK: New plea for a "John Lewis style" economy despite the crisis of the model.
USA: ESOP plans explained. Employee share ownership for startups.

The full press review is available on:

Your support

Amount in Euro:

A political roadmap for employee ownership in Europe

The EFES needs more members. Download the EFES membership form

What's new on the EFES website?

EFES NEWS distribution: 200.000

   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 791 96 00
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 share ownership and participation in Europe.