The Labour cluster offers independent research into all kinds of aspects concerning the labour market and the influence policy could have on this.
Our researchers are characterised by their knowledge of state-of-the-art (econometric) research methods and having advanced skills in collecting, processing and analysing data with which we can, among other things, identify and explain effects. We are content driven and are open to the unruliness of reality. We nurture this mixture of science, policy and practice by staying in touch with the scientific world, cooperating with the real world and taking part in the public debate.
The labour market is not static but is in constant motion. The quality and quantity of supply and demand changes constantly, which means that the job market continuously readjusts itself. Consider progressive technological innovation (robotisation, automation), change of the (regional) sector structure (matching, energy transition), internationalisation and labour migration (free movement of people, third-country nationals, highly skilled migrants), flexibilisation (temporary work, flexible labour, self-employed people), aging and dejuvenation.
With our knowledge, expertise and research methods, we can show the dynamics on the labour market (monitoring), the development of the labour market (time series analyses), how bottlenecks are created (analysis and evaluation) and how those (can be or) are resolved.
Labour is not only a production factor and undeniably plays an important social role. It gives people income (reward, social security), personal development (lifelong learning, sustainable employability), pleasure and meaning. However, it can also lead to exclusion (discrimination based on gender, age or migration background), abuses (exploitation, working conditions) and health problems (working conditions).
Those personal costs and benefits related to labour translate into social costs and benefits that we can analyse with a social cost-benefit analysis (maatschappelijke kosten-batenanalyse, MKBA). This mainly involves getting a clear picture of all the costs and benefits and the distribution between social parties. With a comparison of social costs and benefits on the labour market, our researchers are able to clarify the (social) return of courses, how supply and demand of labour is aligned and where there are mismatches.
Adjustments to the labour market often do not happen automatically, or they happen too quickly or do not happen quickly enough for those involved. In those cases, policy interventions are likely. For example, consider stimulating (the quality of) the labour supply through training, reintegration services and work-to-work processes, or stimulating the throughput on the labour market between temporary and permanent contracts (flexibility and security), between functions (lifelong learning, sustainable employability) or between sectors (intersectoral mobility). But labour market policy is also an issue when unequal opportunities arise, to protect employees or to provide a social safety net.
With our knowledge, expertise and research methods, we are able to show how bottlenecks and (social) issues on the labour market can be resolved (policy advice), what the effects are of policy measures (impact assessment), whether policy is effective and efficient (policy evaluation) and how different policy measures are interrelated and reinforce or counteract each other (policy review).