This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact us.

Call 020 7976 3575 or email


The art of flexicurity: towards better risk management for all

Friday, 11 September 2009
08:30 - 10:30
21 Palmer Street

The art of flexicurity: towards better risk management for all

Delegates heard Professor Tom Wilthagen , a leading European thinker on welfare state reform, making the case for "flexicurity" to enable Britain and other European countries to ensure their labour markets remain competitive while workers are protected against the possible downsides of an increasingly volatile global economy.

Central to "flexicurity" is that ease of hire and fire must be matched by high benefits and investment in active labour market programmes to equip unemployed people with the skills they need to find work in a rapidly changing economy. This approach is well established in Denmark and has contributed to high levels of growth and employment over the last decade.

Quizzed by Will Hutton, Executive Vice Chair at The Work Foundation, Professor Wilthagen explained that human potential and business potential go hand in hand. Sian Thomas, Director of NHS Employers, who worked for two years alongside Ton Wilthagen, talked about the practical aspects of how flexicurity of how employers could apply its principles in the UK.

Professor Wilthagen’s research interests are in the fields of labour market and employment regulation, labour law and industrial relations. He has been involved in many European-scale research projects, commissioned by the European Commission, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

He currently holds a chair in institutional and legal aspects of the labour market at the Faculty of Law of Tilburg University and is a member of European Flexicurity Research Network, the TRANSWELL and the Reconciling Work and Welfare in Europe research networks. Wilthagen is a central player in the debate about whether "flexicurity" offers a viable model for the future of European welfare states. This is a unique opportunity to hear about a new and innovative approach to social protection.


  • Ton Wilthagen, Tilburg University
  • Sian Thomas, NHS Employers
  • Will Hutton, The Work Foundation





Back to forthcoming events