EWCS 2005 - Employment security

Employment security and employability

In recognition of the importance of flexicurity in the current European debate on labour market and employment policies, Eurofound has carried out a secondary analysis of the fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2005) on the topic of employment security and employability (flexicurity).

The report identifies those workers who are most vulnerable in the labour market and compares Member States to see if and how flexicurity measures fit in with national and institutional arrangements. The research used four indicators to examine flexicurity: objective job insecurity, subjective job insecurity, employability, and vulnerability.

Key research findings

  • European workers in more insecure jobs are less likely to have opportunities to improve their skills and future employability than those in open-ended contracts.
  • High levels of job insecurity, vulnerability to income losses, and poor prospects for employability appear to be a particular concern for certain groups – especially women and younger workers.
  • Active labour market policies and social protection systems can play an important role in reducing some of these risks.

The analysis concludes by highlighting the importance of trust as both a pre-requisite and a by-product of successful flexicurity approaches. Some countries display a high level of perceived job insecurity. Such a feeling of insecurity is often associated with a widespread dissatisfaction with society and with democracy. Where these negative feelings and lack of trust are dominant, people may be unwilling to accept any kind of reform measures.