Contracted-out employment services have become an international industry of considerable size and influence. Its expansion reflects public-sector restructuring, changes in the mix of policy instruments, budget cuts, the use of procurement and vouchers rather than grants, and the creation of a single European market for services. This project compares market structures and commissioning practices in Denmark, Germany, and the UK.

Research questions

The project has two main research questions. First, how are nationally varying market structures and commissioning practices affecting job quality in employment services? Second, how could we study the effects of this process on the quality and effectiveness of services?

Embedded in this study is a concern with how marketization shapes the constraints under which front-line workers carry out their jobs and design their work, their representation by unions and works councils, and the self-organization of providers and professions.

3. Research methods and work plan

The core of this project will be comparative case studies of providers (in Germany known as Träger), which will be supplemented by a review of secondary literature, statistical comparisons, comparative institutional analysis, and expert interviews with key actors shaping the employment services market and with providers’ associations and trade unions. In addition, tendering documents will be analyzed and compared.

The team

The research team is based at three research centres: the Centre for Labour Market Research (CARMA) at Aalborg University in Demark; the Work and Employment Research Unit (WERU) at the University of Greenwich in the UK; and the Institute for Work, Skills, and Training (IAQ) at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. Team members include:

Prof. Flemming Larsen, Aalborg

Ms. Karen Breidahl, Aalborg

Prof. Matthias Knuth, Duisburg-Essen

Mr. Johannes Kirsch, Duisburg-Essen

Prof. Ian Greer, Greenwich

Ms. Lisa Schulte, Greenwich

Dr. Graham Symon, Greenwich

Ms. Alejandra Rodriguez, Greenwich
Effektiv start/slut dato01/04/201331/12/2014