Flexicurity 2nd generation - openness

In an open labour market, the entry and return into jobs of people outside the labour market such as young, immigrants, unemployed, etc. is facilitated and becomes possible with minimal frictions.

This will pave the way for the highest possible number of people in jobs.

Facilitation of access to the labour market

In Denmark, we continuously try to underpin an open labour market by ensuring that our labour market does not divide people into insiders and outsiders.

The key has been not to make separate schemes for specific groups on the labour market. It has also been to have a constant focus on people in jobs as well as people temporarily placed outside the labour market.

If we look at the data, the Danish labour market is performing well:

  • High employment rate of 76.1% (15-64-year olds) - which for men is higher at 79% (EU27: 75.1%) and for women lower at 73.1% (EU27: 62.1%)
  • Relatively high employment rate for older workers (55-64-year olds) of 57.6% (EU27: 46.3%)
  • Relatively low unemployment rate (15-64-year olds: 7.4% (EU27: 9.7%)
  • Lower youth unemployment than most European countries: 13.8% (EU27: 21.1%)
  • Half the long-term unemployment as the EU average: 19.1% unemployed more than one year (EU27: 39.9%)
  • Quick re-employment: 32.6% are back in employment after 3 months in unemployment
  • Relatively high employment rate among immigrants: 53.2%

(Sources: Eurostat, Statistics Denmark, Danish Ministry of Employment. All data is for 2010).

Pathways to an open labour market

In a mobile and dynamic labour market, people will be encouraged not to stay long in unprofitable jobs and risk having obsolete skills. They will educate and move for jobs with future personal and professional prospects.

Job opportunities and entry points will thus be created for people who are normally most subject to problems when (re)entering the labour market, such as young, elderly people, women, immigrants and unemployed.

Furthermore, companies will be accustomed to take on new employees with regular intervals and integrate them in the work organisation. With this, companies will become more willing to hire people who stand outside the labour market, ready to up-skill them according to the individual company’s needs.

Different strategies have been pursued to improve the openness. Focus has been on facilitating access to labour markets and on removing demand-side barriers to hire people outside the labour market to create employment incentives, both for the individual employee and for companies.

In Denmark, we have over time tried to establish an open labour market. And we are continuously working to further this.

Christina Sode Haslund
22. december 2011
Examples of an open labour marketFlexicurity articles & reportsMobility­Dynamics