Need for labor market flexibility

Michele Belot on

Quick re-matching of workers and jobs

As the pandemic shook the labour market, many workers became idle almost from one day to the next. Taxi drivers, restaurant serving staff, hotel staff, etc. are examples of service providers that are put on hold. In contrast, other services, such as delivery services, have faced a substantial increase in demand and have a hard time meeting the increase in demand in the short run.

It is rare to see a need for such drastic immediate adjustments in the labour market. At the same time, there exists a number of platforms providing on-demand services that are very flexible and can adjust well to fast and large variations in demand (such as Uber for example). Unfortunately, these platforms tend to be service-specific (e.g. taxi or food delivery) while now what we need is more flexibility in the nature of services offered on demand. For example, those working in the Horeca sectors should be able to help with the preparation of supermarket deliveries.

It should be relatively straightforward for existing platforms to create a specific sub-platform for matching temporarily idle workers to employers who have faced increases in demands.

In addition, one could think of a way of matching volunteers (such as young people) to elderly people for basic services such as food delivery. The goal here would be to minimize the needs for the elderly to leave their home and visit places that are open to the public.