• Emilie Skyum-Jensen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Employment of flex job workers – an employer perspective on engagement

This thesis examines employers' engagement and experiences with hiring flex job workers. Employers play a decisive role in the integration of people with reduced working capacity into the labor market. Employment is the initial step towards integration, making it important to examine the components and factors that engage employers and those that may hinder engagement. By understanding this, more individuals with reduced working capacity may be integrated into the labor market.
The flex job program is a Danish labor market program introduced in 1998. Its aim was to limit access to permanent disability pensions and create a more inclusive labor market where individuals with reduced working capacity can participate. A flex job is a job that takes the worker's reduced working capacity into consideration by individual accommodations. These accommodations may include adjustments to working hours, often resulting in part-time employment.

The research aims to investigate: ‘What engages employers to hire flex job workers?’.
I believe that comprehending the interplay between relational, procedural, contextual, and personal components and factors is crucial for understanding this complex phenomenon. Relational components involve the employer's relationship with the flex job worker and other individuals who may have an impact on the hiring process. Procedural components pertain to the different steps in the hiring process and how engagement can evolve over time. Contextual components refer to the employer’s environment, such as the workplace environment. Personal components refer to the individual features of the employers, such as their knowledge and experiences.

The thesis is based upon a mixed method design consisting of 12 interviews with Danish employers who have previous experiences in hiring flex job workers, and a survey with 2.039 responses from employers who have and have not hired flex job workers. The research examines the influence of relational, procedural, contextual, and personal components on employer engagement, exploring how these factors can motivate and/or hinder engagement.
The findings indicate that large public companies in the fields of education, healthcare, and public administration, preferably with female managers who already employ flex job workers, can be more likely to engage in hiring.

Hence, contextual components, such as company size and industry, personal components, such as gender, and relational components, such as prior experience with hiring flex job workers, all contribute to motivating employers' engagement in hiring.

Furthermore, the study emphasizes that flex jobs come in various forms, which can result in different levels of employer engagement depending on the flex job type. Contextual and organizational components primarily play a role in the employers’ engagement concerning the job type, including the flex job worker fitting the organizations demands.
The thesis also finds that employer engagement can evolve throughout the hiring process, with contextual components playing a role in the early stages, while relational components such as personal fit and chemistry between employer and flex job worker, can become more significant later in the process. In this regard, a lack of personal fit and chemistry can hinder employer’s engagement.
Additionally, the thesis reveals that personal and professional experiences, such as having a family member in a flex job, may contribute to greater understanding and motivates engagement. Furthermore, employers can be engaged by various motives, including emotional aspects such contributing to an inclusive labor market, as well as strategic motives such as the economic advantages of hiring flex job workers. Therefore, employer engagement is pluralistic, influenced by both social and economic motives. The study finally highlights the importance of contextual and relational components within the workplace, where support from the employees and an inclusive workplace culture motivates employer’s engagement in hiring flex job workers. I find this to be a crucial factor for employer’s engagement, which absence may make the other motivating factors more irrelevant.

In conclusion, employer engagement is dynamic and pluralistic, influenced by a complex combination of contextual, relational, personal, and procedural components. These factors manifest in different ways and stages of the hiring process and can vary depending on the flex job type, organization, employer, and employee. Understanding what engages employers to hire flex job workers, is therefore not straightforward. You must take the complex array of components, all influencing engagement in different ways into consideration.
Publication date1 Jun 2023
Number of pages75
External collaboratorForskningscenter for Handicap og beskæftigelse
Professor Thomas Bredgaard thomas@dps.aau.dk
ID: 532536356