The impact of the crisis on SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in national economies in the EU and account for a significant proportion of employment in all Member States. However, in some countries, such as Hungary and Ireland, the crisis has had a severe impact on them, causing many to cease operations and resulting in a fall in employment in this segment of the economy.
A new report from Eurofound examines how governments and social partners have sought to help SMEs weather the crisis, how local partnerships have helped SMEs maintain employment during this turbulent time, and presents the views of the social partners on the situation of such companies. It also looks at the extent of social dialogue in these smaller enterprises. The report finds that – in many countries – working conditions and working hours are more flexible and informally arranged than in larger companies, as is the manner in which work is organised. Moreover, the crisis seems to have made companies seek to become more flexible, as they try to cope with shifting external circumstances and demands.