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The preservation and promotion of workability and employability is a crosscutting theme for occupational safety and health.

In this respect, the question of the constituent factors of employability is of particular importance. The ability to work as a core aspect of safety and health at work is conceptually integrated with frameworks defining an overall concept and combined with labour market aspects to the concept of employability. The aim is to bring together the different perspectives of the different professional discourses and prepare them as guidelines for action in politics and operational practice.

Employability is commonly understood as the ability to participate in working and professional life. The individuals' employability results on one hand from the demands of the workplace, and on the other, the personal, professional, social and methodological skills, as well as personal health and the ability to work. In its research and policy advice, the BAuA focuses on the scientific concept of the workability as the basis of employability, and demarcates itself from those approaches that consider only the labour market availability, flexibility and adaptation.

The discussion of the concept of employability in company practice is mostly based on approaches for lifelong learning, an age-based work organisation and design, as well as measures of occupational health management. In this field, the BAuA, particularly in the context of the New Quality of Work Initiative (INQA), has extensive operational implementation experience and acts is an important policy advisor.

The idea of employability is currently being developed further, mainly in the direction of an umbrella concept under which the company-specific measures in the field of corporate culture, lifelong learning, occupational health management as well as occupational safety and work organisation are merged and then coordinated with the focus of maintaining and improving employability.

Approaches may be found in the European employment strategy, as reflected in "Europe 2020". Here it becomes clear that employability is a structural requirement and cannot be seen as primarily individualised. The promotion of employability is therefore the responsibility of the company and the state, i.e., to design frameworks that enable companies and employees to design employability in their respective responsibilities. Thus employability will not only be a feature of individuals, but companies can also be employable (or not).

The processing of the concept "employability" currently takes place in the BAuA under the following aspects:

Employee level:

  • Health and workability as the basis of employability
  • Analysis and development of concepts to improve individual and organisational health competence, particularly mental health

Company level:

  • Research of "examples of good practice" of employability, particularly peripheral workforces

Political level

  • Identification of political framework conditions of employability
  • Analysis of flexicurity approaches as a framework condition for employability