The power of advocacy: knowledge as a secret weapon

04, October

Denis Pennel, Managing Director, World Employment Confederation An enabling regulatory environment is essential for ...

Denis Pennel, Managing Director, World Employment Confederation

An enabling regulatory environment is essential for the private employment services industry to operate on a level-playing field and contribute to better functioning labour markets. Establishing relationships with key decision-makers to provide them with a sound knowledge of the sector and how it operates, together with shaping the policy agenda, are a core mission for our industry association.

The World Employment Confederation (WEC) is recognised as an important stakeholder in the world of work. We are well placed to reach out to international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-Operation (OECD) and equip them with accurate facts and information on our industry and how it can help them meet vital policy goals.

Advocacy is one of the central services we offer to members. Both our national federation and corporate members can gain a great deal from our advocacy outreach as speaking with one voice and presenting a consolidated industry position means that especially smaller organisations can punch above their weight. It allows them to access decision-makers and play an active role in shaping an enabling environment for our industry to grow in a sustainable way. Several WEC members joined us at the International Labour Conference earlier this year and ensured a constructive new ILO declaration which recognises the positive role of the private employment industry and the importance of diverse forms of work.

In our advocacy work we place strong focus on explaining the World Employment Confederation’s strategic approach: The labour market landscape has changed enormously, and we need policies that reflect the new realities and create inclusive and diverse labour markets able to seize untapped potential and meet the needs of both workers and business.

Aging demographics in many parts of the world, including Europe and North Asia, will mean labour shortages in the future.  Hence the rise in technology is actually a necessity and will leave people free to undertake other tasks.  We will need to keep people in the workforce for longer – up to retirement age and beyond – and also to encourage more women into the labour market. The private employment sector can help drive this inclusiveness and bring more people into the workplace.  One way is by focusing on skills training to ensure that workers are equipped with the skills they need to carry out the jobs that are available.

Our advocacy work also brings added value for the institutions with whom we engage: we offer strong, in-depth market knowledge and tangible case studies from our members on the ground which are valued by stakeholders and provide ‘real life’ insights.

Importantly, our advocacy outreach serves to support our thought leadership initiatives – such as our Social Innovation agenda.  As the number of different types of labour contract in the workplace grows, we need new solutions for promoting ongoing learning and providing social protections that are portable and belong to the worker, not the job. We have many best practice examples to share with policymakers – such as a recent workshop organised by the World Bank, where a World Employment Confederation member had the opportunity to share an example from Argentina illustrating successful cooperation between public and private employment services.

The growing gig economy and the need for diverse forms of work has been unsettling for some and resulted in adverse regulation being adopted and implemented in a number of countries in recent years.  People are naturally suspicious of new things and with the employment landscape changing so quickly they can feel vulnerable and confused. Agency work is the most visible form of flexible work and so a focus for this disquiet. While national contexts have their specificities, there are recurring issues that arise and many of our members face similar regulatory barriers. Their membership of the World Employment Confederation allows them to exchange experiences and share best practice – which ultimately works to create a global, level-playing field for our industry.

Through this continuous process of education and putting our messages across clearly and carefully we are working to turn fear into confidence. The World Employment Confederation is working to ensure that policymakers know who to turn to for sound knowledge and advice on how to deliver labour policies that are fit for the future of work.

About Denis Pennel

Managing Director of the World Employment Confederation, Denis Pennel is a labour market expert with deep knowledge and years of experience relating to employment at global and EU levels. He has published several books in French & English”, describing the new trends in the changing world of work and is a regular keynote speaker at major international conferences.

Follow Denis on Twitter @PennelDenis

About WEC

The World Employment Confederation is the voice of the employment industry at global level, representing labour market enablers in 50 countries and 7 of the largest international workforce solutions companies. The World Employment Confederation brings unique access to and engagement with international policymakers (ILO, OECD, World Bank, IMF, IOM, EU) and stakeholders (trade unions, academic world, think tanks, NGOs). Its main objectives are twofold: to help its members conduct their businesses in a legal and regulatory environment that is positive and supportive; to gain recognition for the positive contribution the industry brings to better functioning labour markets.

Follow WEC on Twitter @WECglobal