Protecting workers: What role for agile solutions?

Over the last decades, the world of work has changed dramatically. While the traditional career model is fading, self-employment and ‘gig’ working is becoming more commonplace and mobility across industries and geographies is increasing.

One of the factors driving changes in how people work is the introduction of new technologies and digitalisation, which have changed firms’ modus operandi, thereby challenging workers’ skills. The types of skills needed to keep up with technological advancements are increasing, and becoming increasingly complex. This has clear consequences for the workforce.

A global study* looking at different categories – age, gender, job type – sheds light on some important themes like technology anxiety, financial planning, and knowledge and ownership of relevant protection mechanisms. Several key findings emerged:

1) Women and routine manual workers are more vulnerable to the changing world of work.

2) Having a comfortable retirement emerges as the top global financial worry.

3) Job instability is as likely to be voluntary as involuntary.

4) Younger millennials seem financially conservative – but aren’t buying protection.

5) Attitudes towards technology’s effects on national labour markets don’t seem to differ by age.

EURACTIV organised this Stakeholder Workshop to discuss the need for flexible solutions in protecting tomorrow’s changing workforce. Questions included:

  • Why do workers need to be (more) agile?
  • Who are the most vulnerable to the changing world of work?
  • Who should be responsible for the social protection of workers?
  • What role does insurance play in individuals’ long-term planning for an uncertain financial future?

*Perceptions on protection: Surveying workers to build new agile solutions. (A global study of behaviours by Zurich and the University of Oxford to identify the most vulnerable groups in rapidly changing work environment.)

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