Through work, people are able to provide for their families, to be part of society. Work enables people to thrive. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we see how the world of work has changed. 

In today’s polycrisis climate, however, we face multiple challenges in helping people find decent work. Slowing economic growth, social unrest, rising inequalities and digital polarization are creating tremendous headwinds. Additional complications include the need for decent employment in combination with new ways of working and a growing skills gap.

The labor market is being challenged by talent scarcity, skills mismatch, demographic change, an aging workforce, and balancing job security with flexibility. But at the same time, more opportunities are available due to the growing platform economy, the transition to green jobs and diverse forms of work. This last development in particular, is enabling people to choose how, where and when they would like to work. These new developments in the world of work also put regulatory frameworks to the test. 

More than ever, it is evident that current labor laws and social systems are not adequately keeping up with the complexity, volatility and uncertainty of today’s world of work. The increasing variety of work forms needs to be regulated appropriately. This requires a level playing field for all stakeholders, which can provide decent work and income, equal opportunities and adequate social security for workers.

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Labor markets that allow for diverse forms of work are more stable and have less informality, which drives economic growth and unlocks opportunities for those in need of an extra stepping stone.

Sonja van Lieshout
head of public affairs

The theme for this year’s World Day of Social Justice is "Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice” — a belief that Randstad strongly supports. In the fight against poverty, productive employment and decent work are key enablers. When we look at the underlying elements of decent work, the International Labour Organization takes into account the following elements:

  • employment conditions
  • social security 
  • rights at the workplace 
  • and social dialogue

employment conditions

Recent research from Randstad shows that talent want empathetic employers to focus on workplace wellness, provide a pleasant work environment, and offer career mobility and meaningful work. The current increasingly complex and at times unpredictable environment is inevitably leading to a wide variety of work forms, ranging from full-time, permanent jobs to part-time, temporary and contract work, agency work, remote working, and self employment, and companies need to be able to listen to what their workers want and remain agile and adaptable in order to stay competitive.

social security

During the pandemic, it became clear many did not have access to social protection — for instance, for those in false self-employment or disguised workers. Randstad continues to be an advocate of enabling a flexible, agile and diverse workforce while promoting well-regulated work for all. This includes adequately protecting workers' rights in terms of remuneration, social security, and opportunities for growth and development. We also actively support improving global employment participation. We refer to this as our social innovation agenda, in which we combine the elements of work, social protection, and learning and development to enable everyone to navigate today’s complex world of work.

Man working on a manufacturing site.
Man working on a manufacturing site.

rights in the workplace

Everyone deserves a workplace where work can be performed in a safe and healthy way, while taking into account human and labor rights. This is especially important in so-called new economies like the green and platform economy, which are attractive to entrepreneurs and young people. Respecting human and labor rights can help reduce inequalities and the risk of social exclusion while driving business growth opportunities. 

social dialogue

Fostering social dialogue in this rapidly changing world of work, is essential to balancing workers’ rights with business growth. Social dialogue has the potential to shape the world of work in such a way that employability improves and that equal opportunities are promoted for underrepresented talent pools and people at risk of exclusion. However, in this individualizing world, it is important to be aware of the collective interest such as the importance of social dialogue, especially in those countries where it is relevant and institutionalized. Governments, trade unions and central employer organizations can play a key role in supporting the social dialogue mechanism. 

Against this background, the call for a new social contract becomes louder, with all stakeholders being summoned to the table to undertake concerted action at all levels. For the labor market to benefit from such an effort, a joint approach is required. This means that action is needed now as doing nothing means that certain groups will be excluded from the labor market. We are ready to play our part and call upon everyone to join us.