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Randstad launches 'Flexibility@work'

Randstad launches “Flexibility@work”

First edition of a yearly report on flexible labor and employment

During the OECD Forum 2013 “Jobs, Equality and Trust” on May 27 – 29 in Paris, Randstad launched the first edition of Flexibility@work a new yearly report on flexible labor and employment. The research* conducted by SEO Economic Research provides a comprehensive overview of international employment trends in the flexible labor markets in Europe, Japan, and the US.

No worldwide growth of flexible labor in the last decade

As the main finding the report demonstrates that flexible labor does not show growth over the past decade nor a trade-off among different forms of flexible labor. In the last decade, for instance, the total amount of flexible labor increased in Germany from 22.5% in 2000 to 24.4% in 2012 whereas in Spain it decreased from 50.2% in 2000 to 39.9% in 2012. 

Flexible labor may accelerate economic growth

There is a strong correlation between the share of flexible labor and economic growth, particularly in respect to agency work and fixed-term contracts. Flexible labor is the first form of employment affected by decline in labor demand in an economic crisis, particularly when flexible workers are younger and lower educated. But at the same time, flexible work will be the first type of employment to recover when the economy stabilizes after a crisis. The opportunity to offer flexible work may even accelerate economic growth. Therefore, further growth in flexible work can be expected once the economies in most western countries start to grow significantly again. In particular agency work, although just a small part of all flexible labor relations, has shown structural growth over the past decade beyond the regular economic cycle.

Ben Noteboom, CEO of Randstad: “Flexibility@work 2013 demonstrates that the way in which specific forms of flexible labor relations develop, depends on the specific demands of the various national labor markets, and therefore varies widely. These demands may be related to the need for innovation, the rise or decline in certain economic sectors, or the economic cycle, to name just a few possible influences.”

Appropriate regulation needed for an inclusive labor market

Rules and regulations that apply to the use of different types of flexible contracts play an important role in the process of economic growth.  Appropriate regulation helps to fight informal labor, improves transitions from unemployment to work and decreases social inequality by providing well regulated work for vulnerable employees.

*Every year the analysis will emphasize a topical development. The 2013 edition highlights global trends in labor relations i.e. the share of agency work, fixed-term contracts and self-employment in the total employment market and the possible trade-offs among these different forms of flexible labor.

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