1 August 2018

Employer-employee relations are changing. Self-employment and temporary jobs are increasingly common and work no longer consists of merely finding a position and trying to move up in the firm. What exactly is happening? 

Values are undergoing constant changes and concepts such as "uberisation" of the economy, the use of platforms to offer services and the constant search for new profit-making alternatives are increasingly common. Nor can we forget that not all work is paid. A case in point is home care and housework, which we should bear in mind when we discuss the future of work.

Susana Franco, researcher and specialist on well being and employment, discussed these aspects in the Eztabai debates a few months ago. With these challenges up for discussion, she addressed the issue of what governments and institutions can do in this respect.

"Flexicurity would allow public administrations to offer security during periods when work is unstable"

A debate is now underway on what should or should not be done by institutions and this is where the concept of flexicurity appears. This method would allow public administrations to offer security during periods when work is unstable. This is a strategy that combines several elements: flexible yet responsible contracts, life-long learning strategies that enable people to develop new competences, active and effective employment policies and adaptation of security systems to provide adequate income during transitions between jobs.

The objective would therefore shift from trying to keep specific jobs to providing the means to enable people to move from one job to another easily and advance in their careers. This strategy would also focus on reducing the duality that seems to have been created between people with stable quality jobs and those who are unemployed or have precarious jobs.

The flexicurity concept is not new. The European Commission published a communication on this topic in 2007 and proposed various pathways to put different policies into practice to achieve this objective. Since then, Europe has undergone a crisis which we now seem to be recovering from, although probably with greater duality on the job scene than in 2007.It seems that we should take another look at the concept in spite of the difficulty involved in putting it into practice and raising the funds needed to do so.

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