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Capturing Flexibility and Insecurity Through Statistics. Azfar Khan, ILO Socio-Economic Security Programme. Instruments. Enterprise Labour Flexibility and Security Surveys ( ELFS ) Establishment level. People Security Surveys ( PSS ) Individual level. Direct Employment.

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Capturing flexibility and insecurity through statistics l.jpg

Capturing Flexibility and Insecurity Through Statistics

Azfar Khan, ILOSocio-Economic Security Programme

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  • Enterprise Labour Flexibility and Security Surveys (ELFS)

    • Establishment level

  • People Security Surveys (PSS)

    • Individual level

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Direct Employment

Indirect Employment

Regular Full-time

Casual Temporary

Regular Part-time

Contract Labour



Home Workers

Differential Relations

Flexibility and Security Structure

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Differential Relations

Job Security


Skill Reproduction Security


Income Security

Representation Security

Employment Security

Work Security

Flexibility and Security Structure

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Institutional Considerations

  • A reorientation of regulatory systems

    • greater emphasis on individual freedom and less on collective action or protection

  • Technological change

    • accelerating changes in production techniques

    • making multi-site production possible

    • making decentralization and out-sourcing more feasible and profitable

    • more options for labour arrangements, payment systems, etc.

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Perceived Considerations

  • Global informalization of economic activity, involving a spread of forms of labour and work not covered by protective regulatory and social protection systems.

  • Global growth of flexible production and labour markets, linked in part to the technological change and globalization, and involving the following:

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Perceived Considerations

  • Organizational flexibility

    • more turnover of firms, more use of sub-contracting and production chains, and a tendency to contract the employment function;

  • Numerical flexibility

    • more use of external labour, such as contract workers, outworkers, homeworkers, agency labour, temporary workers, and teleworkers;

  • Functional flexibility

    • greater change in work tasks, job rotation, and skill;

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Perceived Considerations

  • Working time flexibility

    • more continuous working, flexible hours, etc.;

  • Wage system flexibility

    • a shift from fixed to flexible wages, monetization of remuneration, greater use of bonuses, etc.;

  • Labour force flexibility

    • less attachment to sectors, companies or occupational groups, erosion of collective labour, and greater tendency for workers to move in and out of the labour market and labour force.

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Direct Employment


Contract Labour

Casual Labour


Home Workers


Employment Service


Initial training


Job Structure





The Enterprise Labour Market

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Labour Market Security


  • Main work activity (by time spent)

  • Work status

    • Working for wages

      • Regular/casual employment

    • Contract labour

    • Own account worker

  • Primary or secondary activity

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Measuring Social Income

SI = W + EB + SB + PB + CB


W:the money wage and/or money income received from different types of economic activities

EB: the total value of benefits provided by the enterprise as non-wage benefits and insurance type supports

SB: the total value of benefits provided by the state, which are taken to include citizenship benefits, insurance based income transfers and discretionary ‘means-tested’ transfers

PB: total value of benefits accruing from private income, either through investments, ownership of assets and privately contracted social protection

CB: the benefits accruing through a reliance on traditional communal and family support systems

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In-kind pay

Fixed wage


Collective bargain



(Incentives, Profit share, Benefits)

Wage Flexibility Loop

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Remuneration (cont’d)



Profit share

Type, change




% of pay

Wage Flexibility Loop

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Income Security


  • Regularity of income

  • Form of remuneration

    • Main method of payment (wage based, piece rate, job based)

    • Benefits (health care, maternity benefits, redundancy payments, pension entitlements, disability benefits, subsidies for schooling, etc.)

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Employment Security


  • Labour turnover

  • Changes in employment structure (regular vs. non-regular)


  • Period of unemployment

  • Terms of employment termination

  • Severance payment

  • Provision of other entitlements

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Work Security


  • Number of work-related accidents, working time lost, etc.

  • Committee/department to protect workers


  • OSH conditions, workplace hazards

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Skill Reproduction Security


  • Providing initial training, retraining, training to upgrade

  • Forms of training

  • Subsidizing training institute


  • Access to training for regular and non-regular workers (especially for informal workers)

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ELFS and PSS Carried Out

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Discerned Results

  • Labour Market Insecurity has grown almost globally, with much higher unemployment, slower rates of employment growth and higher labour slack.

  • Employment Insecurity is high and rising, with growing proportions of those in the labour force having insecure employment statuses and with more workers lacking employment protection.

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Discerned Results

  • Work Insecurity has become greater, due to more people being in work statuses without coverage by protective institutions and regulations.

  • Job Insecurityhas worsened, with more workers having to switch jobs and learn new tricks of working.

  • Skill Reproduction Insecurity is considerable with flexibility, in part because skills become obsolescent more quickly and because few workers are receiving career skills.