An ageing population and rejuvenation are two major demographic developments that we will not be able to avoid over the coming years. A consequence of this is a growing shortage of the labour market. Parallel to this is the growing number of people who are at a distance from the labour market, such as refugees and people with disabilities. How do we ensure that more people become active contributors to the labour market and that this also involves meaningful, fully-fledged jobs? These are some of the questions with which we are engaged within the Access to Inclusive Work research line.
Field of tension between participation and productivity
In order to involve more people in the labour market, one needs to address groups that occupy a weaker labour market position. Consider, for instance, those with a lower educational level, newcomers and people who no longer work because of health reasons. Work provides economic independence, but it also gives people the opportunity to develop personally and to actively participate in society. Many employers, however, are opposed to accepting these groups and the potential employees themselves are not always immediately ready to go to work. Moreover, research shows that increasing labour force participation often comes at the expense of the average productivity per employee. Thus, greater participation does not automatically lead to a higher yield. This creates a field of tension, even in social organisations that not only aim to make a profit but also seek to create social value. One of the central questions within this line of research is therefore to study how employers can best be supported in the creation of inclusive work.
Refugees and the labour market
For this research line, explicit attention is given to the position that refugees occupy within our labour market. In order to strengthen work on this very current topic, a ‘Professor by Special Appointment’ will soon be recruited for this research theme. In a first project, students who are following the pre-bachelor programme for refugees at the HU, will be monitored over time to follow their development from their time as students to when they enter the labour market.
Effective strategic management and appropriate HR policies can help support employers and employees in increasing labour force participation. With our research, we would like to equip (HR) managers to (lastingly) achieve organisationally-related goals in terms of productivity, as well as to offer new, meaningful workplaces. This will be achieved, among other means, via the SIA-subsidised project ‘Scaling up social enterprises’. People analytics forms a relevant framework for both thought and action, which aims to link organisational goals to data and outcomes that are relevant for employees.