Innovating European Labour Markets
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Innovating European Labour Markets

Dynamics and Perspectives 

Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen

This book examines innovative theoretical perspectives and novel labour market policy responses to Europe’s changing work demands, employment careers and life courses. It presents creative ideas and recommendations for flexicurity policies at various levels and in different social and economic contexts. The driving factors determining the performance of dissimilar pathways in Europe are identified in regard to their impact on the flexibility/security nexus. Key issues in the current European policy debate are addressed, including how innovative policies are designed in the areas of working time, education, work–life balance, employment relations, retirement and migration, how they are put into practice and what determines their level of success.
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Chapter 8: Mapping Flexicurity in the EU

Greet Vermeylen


Greet Vermeylen 8.1 INTRODUCTION The concept of flexicurity comprises a series of reflections on different social systems and their capacity to respond to the current challenges facing our society and economy, at European and at Member State level. Globalisation is one of the main contextual factors behind this drive to make labour markets more flexible while at the same time not jeopardising the security of workers. This chapter tries to reflect on the different elements that together constitute the concept of flexicurity.1 It looks at how different countries implement a different mix of these elements, how to create more flexibility combined with new forms of security. It is based on findings from different research projects undertaken by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Particular emphasis is given to some findings from the fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2007). This contribution addresses furthermore the issue of responsibility for flexicurity. Better solutions can be found where all actors, including social partners, are involved in the whole process of shaping and implementing these policies at all levels. 8.2 MAIN DRIVERS OF FLEXICURITY What are the forces creating the need for flexicurity-type solutions? Several factors are often cited.2 One principal factor is the economic challenge posed by a growing global economy that is increasingly integrated and competitive (globalisation). Other factors include the demographic challenge of a rapidly ageing society and the increasing feminisation of the workforce. Regarding the impact of globalisation on the flexicurity debate, it is clear that...

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