Sustaining Employability (2014-2018)

Employability is at the heart of scientific and public debates concerning the labour market. In these debates, employability is regarded as an important means for workers, employers and governments to deal with the challenges they face due to processes like population ageing and knowledge intensification. In the research project SUSTAINING EMPLOYABILITY, we distinguish three levels of employability. The first level concerns the ‘actual’ employability of workers; their ability of workers to assert influence over their labour market situation. Secondly, there are employability-enhancing practices through which workers can gain employability. And, thirdly, employers and governments apply formal employability policies, like employment protection and career opportunities.

The project SUSTAINING EMPLOYABILITY challenges the implicit assumption that the three levels of employability simply follow each other, by focusing on the following three research objectives: (1) explaining employability practices by acknowledging that interests between the three actors may diverge and that trust problems can arise; (2) examining the effectiveness of employability practices; and (3) understanding how the national context affects the three levels of employability.

The three objectives provide the basis of the three subprojects of SUSTAINING EMPLOYABILITY (two PhD projects and one postdoc project). The external partners play a central role. As the co nsortium consists of representatives of workers, employers and the government, there is a unique opportunity to explore and discuss various viewpoints concerning employability. Furthermore, since several partners are involved in research themselves, joint research is conducted. Finally, knowledge is disseminated through the networks of the partners.