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 How many employee shareholders in Europe?

The number of employee shareholders in Europe continues to rise.

This is indicated by the initial figures from the new Annual Census of Employee Ownership in Europe, which will be published next April.

The graph makes it possible to distinguish the evolution in listed companies, but also in all large companies (listed and unlisted), as well as in SMEs.

In large companies, employee ownership has suffered from the negative policies adopted by governments in countries like France or Denmark in the early 2010's.

Recently, policies have become more positive again, but negative shocks are still far from being forgotten. It's easier to break trust than it is to restore it. In Denmark, for example, tax incentives were abolished in 2011 and reinstated in 2016, but few companies have yet taken the risk of reinvesting in employee share plans.

In SMEs, the number of employee shareholders in Europe continues to stagnate at around one million people. With the exception of Great Britain, no European country has yet set up an employee share ownership scheme adapted to SMEs (exception workers' cooperatives). This in direct contrast to the USA, where ESOP plans alone have 14 million employee shareholders.

At the current rate, it will take Europe a little over 400 years to reach a number of employee shareholders comparable to that achieved today in the United States.

Come on, we can do better!

Press review
We have a selection of 24 remarkable articles in 10 countries in January 2021: Czechia, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Latvia, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA.
Czechia: Taylor Guitars shifts to an ESOP plan.
Denmark: Political campaign to promote workers' cooperatives in Denmark.
Germany: In the European ranking of employee share plans for startups, Germany and Belgium are at the very last place.
France: New employee share plan for Suez. Business transfers through workers' co-operative.
Italy: Employee ownership in SMEs. Call for the representation of employee shareholders on the boards of large European companies.
Latvia: New regime for taxation of employee stock options.
Spain: Josetxo Hernandez takes stock of 37 years at the head of ASLE, the Basque federation of sociedades laborales.
Sweden: Stock options should receive better treatment in Sweden.
UK: Employee Ownership Trusts increasing in popularity.
USA: Employee-ownership companies set to outperform in anticipated 2021 recovery.  Iconic Taylor Guitars to become 100% employee-owned company. Top Biden economist: Encouraging employee ownership could improve job quality, increase workers' wealth & productivity.

The full press review is available on:


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   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.