New forms of employment
15 December 2021
New forms of employment represents the umbrella term for the more diversified forms of employment that are emerging or have been gaining importance since about 2000Read more
New forms of employment represents the umbrella term for the more diversified forms of employment that are emerging or have been gaining importance since about 2000. Alongside traditional employment relationships, new forms of work are characterised by changing working patterns, contractual relationships, places, duration and schedule of work, increased use of information and communication technologies (ICT), or a combination of those.Read less
Social, economic and technological changes in Europe have given rise to new forms of employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in the scale and scope of new forms of employment. Many of these are very different from traditional ‘work’.Read more
Social, economic and technological changes in Europe have given rise to new forms of employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in the scale and scope of new forms of employment. Many of these are very different from traditional ‘work’. They transform the traditional one-to-one relationship between employer and employee. They are also characterised by unconventional work patterns and places of work.
Policymakers in the EU are interested in how these new forms of employment can help to build a more resilient and inclusive labour market. Discussion also revolves around how to ensure adequate social protection and decent working conditions. Of key importance in the debate is how to avoid a situation where these new employment forms are less favourable to workers than more established types of employment.
In 2017, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, setting out 20 core principles essential for well-functioning labour markets. The accompanying 2021 Action Plan notes that digitalisation and the changes brought about in the world of work by the pandemic warrant a wide policy debate that will focus not only on levels of labour market participation but also on adequate working conditions underpinning quality jobs.
The Commission also raised the issue of working conditions in its Communication on 'Shaping Europe’s digital future'. Good working conditions are at the core of a successful digital transition that would promote innovation and technological diffusion.
- European Commission: The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan
- European Commission: The European Pillar of Social Rights in 20 principles
- EUR-Lex: Communication on Shaping Europe’s digital future
To fill existing knowledge gaps, since 2013 Eurofound has been exploring the characteristics of emerging forms of employment in EU Member States. The research looks at the implications for working conditions and the labour market.Read more
To fill existing knowledge gaps, since 2013 Eurofound has been exploring the characteristics of emerging forms of employment in EU Member States. The research looks at the implications for working conditions and the labour market.
Categorising new forms of employment
In 2015, Eurofound conducted a Europe-wide mapping exercise to identify emerging trends. This exercise led to the categorisation of nine broad types of employment forms that are new or have become increasingly important in European Member States since 2000: employee sharing, job sharing, voucher-based work, interim management, casual work, ICT-based mobile work, platform work, portfolio work and collaborative employment. A range of case studies, carried out as part of the study, show how these new employment forms operate in Member States and their effects on working conditions and the labour market.
In 2020, Eurofound conducted a follow-up review of new forms of employment which tracked their scale, scope and incidence and highlighted their increasing relevance for European labour markets.
- Publication: New forms of employment: 2020 update
- Case studies: 67 case studies forming the basis of the report ‘New forms of employment’
New trends emerging
Eurofound continues to examine in more detail some of the new trends identified. Research in 2016 looked in particular at the win–win potential of strategic employee sharing for both employers and employees. In 2020, a study on telework and ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM) analysed the implications of these arrangements on employment and working conditions.Read less
Key outputs over the years
- Standard employment is still dominant across the EU, but European labour markets are characterised by increasingly diverse forms of employment.
- Some new forms of employment are expected to continue to grow, due to the twin transition to the digital age and a carbon-neutral economy. However, some new forms of employment may be negatively affected due to the economic and labour market impact of COVID-19.
- Many new employment forms are driven by the need for flexibility of employers/clients or workers. In developing new forms of employment, it is crucial to ensure that this flexibility does not diminish workers’ protection.
- Working time, representation, along with health and safety need to be addressed for several new forms of employment, including ICT-based mobile work, platform work, casual work and voucher-based work.
- For some new forms of employment, the ambiguity of employment status for workers could contribute to labour market segmentation.
Publications & dataTop
The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic.
- Publications (54)
- Ongoing work (1)
Eurofound publications come in a variety of formats, including reports, policy briefs, blogs, articles and presentations.
A selection of related data on this topic are linked below.
Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles.