Social and Solidarity Economy and the Future of Work - ILO 2017
Euricse Working Paper for the ILO/ International Labour Of ce. - Geneva: ILO, 2017
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The global economy is affected by significant economic, technological and demographic changes that threaten to reduce decent work opportunities at a time when the demand for employment is growing and economic inequalities are higher than ever. New technologies and automation are increasingly replacing human workers, and the sectors that are less likely to be affected by these phenomena and more likely to grow in the near future (like personal services, for instance) are also more prone to informal or non-standard forms of employment. In this context, significant attention is being paid to the social and solidarity economy (SSE) as a viable option to help address some of these challenges. Indeed, while the SSE comprises a diverse and heterogeneous universe of organizational models and approaches, the main actors within the SSE share a set of common features that make them ideally suited to take on some of the key issues related to the future of work.
The paper reviews the main theoretical arguments and empirical evidence on the features and role of SSE organizations, paying particular attention to their implications for the creation and preservation of decent work. The analysis shows that SSE organizations can indeed help create and preserve employment in traditional sectors and promote decent work by providing quality and stable jobs, facilitating women’s entry into the labour force, integrating disadvantaged workers and helping the transition from informal to formal employment. The paper also argues that SSE organizations can help channel jobs in emerging sectors like the “silver economy”, that are at risk of non-standard forms of work, within entrepreneurial organizations that can provide more structure and security. This will be particularly important in the coming years, as a larger share of employment will come from the service sector (including in particular personal care and social services) and will be much less structured than in the past due to the rise of the gig economy. The paper concludes with a review of the main policy implications, brie y describing the types of initiatives, both at the national and international levels, that could lend the SSE the support it needs in order to ful l its potential and help improve the future of work.