Finally, attitudes to work have also become a source of segmentation, because, for the first time in history, four different generations co-exist in companies: post-war baby-boomers; generation X from the 1960s and 1970s; generation Y, the baby-boomers’ children; and the Millennial Kids. These generations have differing expectations about the work-life balance, pay, management, and career development. But while the world of work has segmented, our view of labour relations remains singular, based on the open-ended contract that became the standard in the second half of the 20th century. This was a time of permanent, full employment, of strong unions, and of an economy focused on industrial production. As a result, a system developed in which workers’ rights and welfare entitlements were linked to their employer and based on permanent contracts. There is now no such thing as a job for life, even for people with an open-ended contract. In Italy, for example, 50% of open-ended contracts are terminated after two years. The classic career path for 21st-century workers will be to start as a temporary or fixed-term contract employee before gaining an open-ended contract. They will then probably alternate between periods of employment and unemployment, training and re-assignment. As they gradually ease themselves out of the labour market, workers will take up freelance or part-time work to supplement their (meagre) retirement benefits. The market requires workers to be flexible – and workers should not be penalised for showing flexibility. Whatever their employment contract or employee status, employees need to have access to the same entitlements, benefits and welfare cover. The challenge now is to organise a system that attaches rights and welfare entitlements to the person, rather than to the employer, and that bases rights and entitlements on a person’s entire career, not on their status or length of service with one employer. This will require change in four areas. Labour laws need modernisation, to bring legal certainty to new forms of employment. Systems of health and social protection need re-invention, to ensure that rights are portable. Economic and work security needs development, to meet reasonable expectations about job continuity and about unemployment and retirement schemes. And workers need help, to navigate more fluid career paths. In short, an entirely new social contract will have to be invented to meet the needs of the modern world of work. These are issues that we need to start tackling now if we are to meet the EU’s target that 75% of people aged 20-64 should be in employment by 2020. Denis Pennel is the managing director of Ciett, the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies. The economic crisis has increased unemployment dramatically, to a point where 23 million people in the EU – or 9.5% of the workforce – are without work. Getting them back into the workplace is, rightly, the focus of policymakers’ attention. But if the EU is to meet the employment targets it has set itself for 2020, policymakers should also be looking at more structural changes in the world of work. The fact is that today’s labour market is highly diversified and segmented. Firstly, employee-employer relations now take increasingly varied forms: salaried employee, freelance worker, self-employed, managed services company, to name but a few. Even within salaried employment, there is a wide array of contract types: open-ended contracts, fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work, welfare-to-work contracts, training contract, and so on. France and Belgium, for example, each have more than 30 different types of employment contract. And there is reason for such variety, since different contracts serve different goals. Secondly, labour markets are segmented between insiders – those who have a job – and outsiders: the unemployed, the inactive and those who work on the black market, a group often overlooked in labour statistics and policies.