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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics Events & Colloquium

EPS seminar series- ALINA FELDER (University of St. Gallen): 'From activation to upskilling? Trajectories of active labour market policies in the age of skill shortage'

When:We 24-04-2024 16:00 - 17:00
Where:Room 1315.0048, Harmonie building

This event is part of the Seminar Series of the theme group European Politics and Society.


For the first time since the 1970s, advanced welfare states are experiencing a labour market context characterized by skill and labour shortage. What does it mean for active labour market policies (ALMPs) and for social policies more generally? In their early days, ALMPs ought to tackle skills shortage and thus entailed the training of jobless individuals with the objective to sustainably include them in the active labour force. Over time and over the course of their expansion, ALMPs were more strongly guided at keeping people off unemployment benefits and at re-inserting the unemployed into the labour market as soon as possible. Labour market training remained one component of ALMPs following an activation logic, yet with a different role for skill development. With the issue of skill shortage on the political agenda, there is potential for ALMPs to go full circle. However, we can also expect that renewed attention towards the training component of ALMPs bears tensions with policies that have usually been drawn upon to satisfy the demand for skilled workers. As such, proposals to close the ever-increasing gap between the demands and supplies of vocational mid-level skills, entail mixes of instruments with different policy backgrounds. This stands in contrast to the fact that scholarly knowledge about their complementarities and/or tensions is scarce. To fill this gap, this study is particularly concerned with the trajectories of ALMPs in the age of skills shortage. The aim of this study is to uncover if ALMPs experience reorientation from an activation logic to a skills shortage logic and if so, how this reorientation is linked to established systems of skills supply. Our study embarks on a comparison between a small number of four carefully selected cases with a strong ALMP sector, while at the same time having statist (France, Sweden) and dual (Denmark, Germany) skill formation systems. While the skill formation system is what separates these countries, Denmark and Sweden are very similar and so are France and Germany with regards to their welfare state regimes (social democratic vs. conservative).