Megatrends and social security

Social security systems can anticipate and influence global trends affecting societies and economies

Transformation of labour markets

Social security is directly influenced by a rapidly-changing labour market, which is increasingly characterized by shorter working careers, large informal sectors and vulnerable jobs. Growing youth unemployment and labour migration, combined with increased education levels and evolving female participation rates in the workforce, represent long-term and complex challenges for administrations. While these challenges are shared across all regions, regional variations reflect demographic, economic and societal differences.

Megatrends in the labour market and social security responses

Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment Proactive and tailored approaches to address the issues of youth and long-term unemployment
Work with employers to create appropriate incentives
Stubbornly large informal economy Innovative approaches to benefits and delivery
Tailored communication to improve perceived value of social security
Larger migrant flows Administrative coordination and use of ICT to improve communication
Multilateral and bilateral agreements
Increased service sector employment Proactive and preventive healthy workplace measures
Change in disability benefits to reflect different nature of beneficiaries
Fragmented careers Flexible benefits
Ageing workforce Active support for senior workers
Enabling of part-time and flexible work
Improving female participation rates Tailored and flexible benefits and services
Employer information and incentives


A number of areas where social security could innovatively address the impacts of these trends have been identified. For example, pressures on the workforce due to population ageing will require incentives to support the recruitment, retention and training of older workers, as well as redesigning pension systems to ensure adequate coverage for a diverse working population. Practical responses to reach the growing numbers of migrant workers include more targeted communication efforts and adapting benefits and service delivery for informal-economy workers.

Latest news Latest news

Upcoming events Upcoming events