Abstract We examine job flows in the 1990s for a sample of 13 European countries. By using a dataset of continuing firms that covers all sectors, we find firm characteristics to be important determinants of job flows, with smaller and younger firms within services typically having a larger degree of job turnover. Once controlled for firm and sectoral effects, the role of institutions in the dynamics of job creation and destruction is examined. As expected, employment protection is found to reduce job flows. Similarly, countries with higher unemployment benefits and more co-ordinated wage bargaining systems are characterised by lower job flows.