Capital held by top executives

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(31 European countries – 2,709 largest European companies – 36 million employees)

The annual Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership in European Countries in 2017 provides a lot of information on the financial participation of workers. The report includes an overview  of the evolution over the period 2006-2017, with main findings, tables and graphs and a list of the most remarkable companies.

According to the report, 2017 was a new record year for employee share ownership in Europe, with nearly 400 billion euro held by employees in their company or 3.20%. 86.6% of all large European companies have employee share plans. Their number increased by 3 to 4% on average each year since 2006, a solid growth.


This chapter allows each European country to be compared to others regarding most characteristics of employee share ownership.

 First to be compared, the employees’ stake in large European companies was 3.20% in 2016 (Graph 16). This was partly due to top executives and to ordinary employees as can be seen on Graph 17. Graphs 18-22 give more detailed information about the mix of top executives’ and ordinary employees’ stakes in each European country.

 Graph 23 shows that 94% of large European companies have employee share ownership, with only a few countries being far below this average, all of them being «new» member states of the European Union.

 A similar comment applies to the 87% of large companies having employee share plans (Graph 24).

 How much European countries differ regarding broad-based employee share plans can be seen on Graph 25.

 High differences can be also observed for the proportion of large companies having launched new employee share plans in 2017 (Graph 26) and for the proportion of large companies having stock option plans (Graph 27).

 Differences are even higher for the democratization rate of employee share ownership (i.e. the proportion of employee shareholders compared to all employees), with 21% on average, but from 0% in Bulgaria to 36.8% in France (Graph 29).

 «Significant» employee share ownership (i.e. a stake of 1% or more) appears on Graphs 30-31 for all companies and for listed ones, while «strategic» employee share ownership (i.e. a stake of 6% or more) appears on Graphs 32-34.

 For the proportion of large European companies publishing their employees’ stake, France is far above all other countries (Graph 35).

 For the number of employee shareholders, France and the UK are far above all others, while Germany looks a dwarf in comparison (Graph 37).

 Increases and decreases in the number of employee shareholders appear for each European country, for the whole period from 2007 to 2017 (Graph 38), and for recent years from 2011 to 2017 (Graph 39).

 Finally, the whole capitalization held by employee shareholders in each European country in 2017 is shown on Graph 40, while the average assets held by each employee shareholder in each country can be seen on Graph 41.

Graph 22

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source: Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership 2017 – EFES


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