Flexibility-security Nexus: the Concept of Flexicurity

  • Meenakshi Shree Gautam


Workers, companies, sectors of industry, countrywide governments have usually been found facing a twofold expectation. Using one side, there is a strong demand to bring more versatility to labor market segments, employment and work group, while at same time an evenly strong demand for providing security to employees, especially the vulnerable groups.

Flexicurity suggests that the versatility and security can co-exist at the same time. But increasing overall flexibility in the labor market is seen with lessening security in the labor market, since it might echo a rest in the rules of selecting and firing and in flexible forms of work.

The concept of flexicurity has been addressed at a various EU summits. Inside the mission of the European Union, improving of both versatility and security has been considered with an aim to ensure sustainable monetary growth with increased jobs and increased sociable cohesion.

In India, when reviewed under the purview of the flexicurity, plans like the MNREGA, and Unemployment Insurance System on the prepared extension of cultural security grow to be the elements of an rising domestically growing form of flexicurity. The analysis of the Indian labor marketplaces in the context of flexicurity have been found to can be found in the prepared sector, but that too requires a clear-cut analysis of real rigidities and of security issues.

Peter Auer, in his short paper on "Security in labor markets: Combining versatility with security for reasonable work", has talked about the concept and analyzed the topic of flexicurity, its importance, employment stability, country distinctions and convergence/ divergence in europe and the problems of what looms beyond flexicurity.

Flexicurity: The concept and the switch from job to job security

Flexicurity is not merely a certain 'species' of the labor market policy/strategy but it addittionally concerns a certain point out or condition of the labor market. In the case regarding the flexicurity as a disorder of the labor market, flexicurity must be described both as a typical form of security and as a typical form of versatility.

Flexicurity refers to the job, work, income and 'combination' security that encourages and allows for long lasting and high quality labor market participation and social addition, and at exactly the same time provides a degree of numerical, functional and wage flexibility which allows for timely and adequate modification of labor market segments and companies to changing conditions to ensure and enhance competitiveness and efficiency.

In the former generation of labor economists and the professional relations school (for example the internal labor market "school" - Doeringer et Piore, 1971) job and job security, were considered as related to one another in the next manner: job security was taken to be analogous to the task security. The work classification, under this technique, became inflexible when it comes to new needs of polyvalence and multi-skilling with new types of goods and service production.

And therefore, the work security guideline was often changed by work security that guaranteed work with the firm, but not on any particular job. This switch in the idea was seen with a move from certification to competence, more polyvalence and new varieties of work firm creating space for much more internal versatility than before.

There seems to be a trade-off between job and job security comprising of work and job changes. The shift from job to employment security was a transfer from an internally rigid system towards a far more internally adaptable system that retained employment security and long-term careers with one company.

The transition from job to career security has been referred to as

Internal and external adjustments

Numerical flexibility

Functional flexibility

External flexibility

Hiring/ Firing

Temporary jobs

Outsourcing/ Insourcing

Internal flexibility

Working time reductions/ prolongations

Work organization changes

Polyvalent skills

Working time arrangements (change work etc. )

Internal adjustments are essential for flexicurity because they can make up for the missing external types of adjustment. To demonstrate this point, writer has quoted the exemplory case of Germany where internal forms of modification are preferred to external ones. The author mentioned about the research conducted by an institute which established the author's proposition that internal modifications are indeed used to pay for the exterior forms of modifications.

Wage flexibility, important for providing cost versatility, has been excluded from the concept of flexicurity. Internal overall flexibility is utilized both as an emergency measure at the time when job slices come into view and as a preventive methodology for eliciting more efficiency and upholding the profession affiliation.

An important question increased in the paper is whether one can balance the versatility needs of people arising out of these choices and the needs of the employers. Both have a tendency to be deciding the steadiness of flexibility and security. It's been seen that in flexicurity countries, both above mentioned areas of the versatility are complementary, within the remaining countries, there appears to be a trade-off between the two.

The author has also highlighted, predicated on the empirical facts that the flexible countries with modest employment coverage but bounteous cover by labor market regulations do better in conditions of decent jobs. This observation shows that a certain degree of flexibility, when "protected" is appealing for worker's security and delivers greater results than either "unprotected" range of motion or too much occupation stability.

Therefore, labor market reforms that take into account the necessity of stability, overall flexibility and security result in optimal results. Neglecting anybody of these elements, combined with the social dialogue, tends to produce suboptimal results either for productivity, occupation performance or personnel' security.


The writer concludes by recommending the particular one cannot picture an lack of stable jobs and a complete change of security towards public unemployment and work schemes. The writer also highlights the fact that more research is needed to set up a strong link between objective and subjective data as for now, one can only conclude that maximizing of job cover needs more than tenure in order to complement objective and subjective employment security.

Following common elements have been discussed by the author to achieve "in-employment flexicurity" combined with "out-of-employment flexicurity"
  • Employment coverage through innovative employment contracts
  • High amount of social security by productive Labor Market Policies
  • Access to cultural rights given that they link options for temporary exit from the labor market (versatility) with come back options (security). )
  • Complementarity between your individual and employer oriented flexibility
  • High amount of internal versatility in high performance work systems
  • Effective social dialogue

Developing, sustaining and improving such a system needs to be complemented by way of a functioning interpersonal dialogue which allows the industry and the government to discount over possible trade-offs, accountabilities and expenditures of the system.


Auer, P. (2012). "Security in labor market segments: combining flexibility with security for reasonable work", Economic and labor market examination papers, ILO (International Labor Office), Geneva.

Auer, P. , Jha Praveen (2009). "labor market reforms in India: Barking up the incorrect tree?", The Indian Journal of Labor economics, Vol. 52, No. 1, pp. 71-81.

Lerche, J. (2012). "Labor Rules and Labor Standards in India: Decent Work?", Global Labor Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 16-27.

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