News and events Tilburg University

Connecting HRM and social security helps solve major labor market issues

Published: 14th September 2022 Last updated: 14th September 2022

In order to solve the major problems on the labor market, we need a new infrastructure in which finding work and moving within the labor market goes smoothly and with new securities. Both the government and employers will have to take action, but not without taking into account the interests of each other and of the (potential) employee. In their inaugural address on Friday 16 September, professors Irmgard Borghouts and Charissa Freese outline a model that connects those interests and a (research) agenda to achieve that new infrastructure. Together they have been appointed on the HRM and Social Security chair, which was established by Instituut Gak.

The labor market is the Achilles' heel of our economy. It is intertwined with all the societal challenges facing the Netherlands, such as the climate transition, housing shortages, and poverty. To tackle these challenges all (potential) workers need to participate. . But we are struggling with staff shortages on the labor market, 1.3 million people are still on the sidelines, many flex workers and self-employed persons lack social security, and robots and digitization are causing an ever-greater skills mismatch.

To solve these issues, Freese and Borghouts study both employer behavior and public policy. Scientifically, this is covered by the disciplines of human resource management (HRM) and social security. Both in science and in practice, these domains are compartmentalized, while they strongly influence each other. Through their joint appointment to this HRM & Social Security chair, the professors can connect both domains more closely.

Transitional Inclusive HRM Labor Market Model

To this end, they have developed the Transitional Inclusive HRM Labor Market Model, which links crucial factors together. It is based on a model by Günther Schmid (1995), who states that the better people are able to make transitions, the better the labor market functions. Borghouts and Freese distinguish four essential transitions: from inactivity to work, from contract to contract, from work to work, and transition due to work changing in the future, for example as a result of digitization.

For each transition, the professors outline the state of affairs in science and practice, and the direction it should take, always taking into account the interests of both the government, the employer, and the (future) employee. An important condition is that people or organizations are both willing and able to make changes, and are given the opportunity to do so.  If, for example, poverty policies lead to a situation where working does not pay off sufficiently or where people lose their allowances, people will not search for a job.

In researching for new solutions, Borghouts and Freese work together with researchers from the Research Lab Inclusive HRM and within the Academic Collaborative Center Inclusive Labor Market at Tilburg University, which they lead. Affiliated with the collaborative center are Achmea, CNV, CSU/T-zorg, ING, KLM, NS, Philips, Rabobank, Randstad, and UWV. The ultimate objective: sufficient income, work, and social security for every (potential) employee.

Inaugural address

Prof. Charissa Freese and Prof. Irmgard Borghouts will deliver their joint inaugural address on Friday, September 16, 2022, in the auditorium, entitled “Towards new securities on an inclusive labor market: the interplay between HRM and Social Security”. The speech can also be accessed via a livestream.

Note to editors

For more information, please contact press officers Corine Schouten of Tilburg University on +31 13 466 2993, or send an e-mail to c.h.schouten@tilburguniversity.edu.