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Job market and employment opportunities in international comparison

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A well-functioning labor market is critical for ensuring robust economic growth that not only creates more jobs, but high-quality ones as well. Just as critically, it also ensures that workers can find gainful employment and thus participate fully in society. Through its publications, the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Benchmarking Germany project is advancing the discussion on how economic, employment and social policies must interact in order to eliminate current imbalances in the labor market and better integrate workers into it.  

Almost 10 years after the project’s initial assessment of the situation in 2001 and five years after the project’s last evaluation in 2004, the time has come for a new, comprehensive study on how Germany’s labor market compares internationally with its peers. Such an undertaking is particularly timely given that employment opportunities both within Germany and abroad have changed in a number of fundamental ways since the beginning of the decade -- albeit particularly in Germany. On the one hand, background conditions governing the job market have been transformed in light of policymaking decisions in the areas of labor and social policy, as is particularly evident in the combined Hartz and Agenda 2010 reforms. The result has been both increased demands placed on recipients of social-assistance benefits and more flexible work contracts. On the other hand, the ground rules for negotiating wage agreements have also changed, as have basic industry structures and employer-worker relationships. Not only have non-traditional job opportunities become increasingly widespread, workers in conventional full-time positions have also been accorded greater leeway, thanks to flexible working times and innovative compensation plans. 

Between November 2009 and March 2010, the Benchmarking Germany project will release four studies comparing Germany’s job market with conditions in other countries. The studies will examine traditional and innovative forms of employment, as well as the various stages workers now pass through in the course of their professional careers.

The studies will identify good practices and assess strengths and weaknesses, with an eye towards making today’s beleaguered job market more robust and future-ready.


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