How Covid-19 has changed the labour market

By Camille FratiMisch PautschLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

More digitalisation, more focus on values: the labour market has changed vastly in the wake of Covid-19. A development that is being closely monitored by governments and employment professionals alike.

"Post-Covid labour markets: are we becoming greener and more inclusive?" This was the ambitious question asked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to the panelists of a conference organised last July. At the table: representatives of ministries in charge of employment and/or social affairs from the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States and finally Brazil. While the OECD Secretary General, Mathias Cormann, was thinking more about the jobs linked to the ecological transition and the major impact that this would have on jobs that have become obsolete – particularly in the production of fuels from fossil fuels – the panelists' interventions put forward a certain questioning of state action in the area of employment and the labour market framework.

"After the Covid-19 crisis, we looked at how to integrate people who do not have the same opportunities as others", says Karien Van Gennip of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. "In the Netherlands, we have more than one million self-employed people and we have come up with the idea of making flexible contracts less flexible and permanent contracts less permanent. We are at a turning point when it comes to growth and low unemployment – this is a real opportunity to get people moving. We are learning from every past crisis. To move forward, you have to start with a shared vision of the society you want and that's what we're doing with a major reform we're negotiating with the unions."

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