Employability and job security, friends or foes? The paradoxical reception of employacurity in the Netherlands
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The idea that investing in employability is the answer to the insecurity caused by creative destruction originated in the context of Silicon Valley. Paradoxically, this 'employacurity' discourse has taken root in the Netherlands, a country in which the employment system is firmly based on the norm of job security, the total opposite of Silicon Valley's employment system. Although management gurus have built an attractive discourse on employability, an associated collective action problem detracts from its realism. The Dutch case exhibits mechanisms that may alleviate such a collective action problem. These mechanisms are explored via an examination of policy documents, a quantitative analysis of collective labour agreements and two cases, one of a large bank and one of an industrial company. A craving among Dutch employers for flexibility, fuelled by the norm of security that impacts their perception of potential benefits of investments in employability, is crucial to our understanding of employacurity in the Netherlands.