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Worker gap drives hybrid and alternative job models – IBA
Pic: Simon Abrams on Unsplash

19 Jun 2023 / employment Print

Worker gap drives hybrid and alternative job models

The latest report from the International Bar Association’s Global Employment Institute (IBA GEI) finds greater focus on ethical business.

Based on data from lawyers in 55 countries, the report finds an increased focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

Issues such as environmental responsibility, sustainability and mental health in the workplace are identified as key areas for the human resources sector

The report covers trends in HR law during 2021 and early 2022, including the topics of:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) technology,
  • Corruption and whistleblowing,
  • Data protection,
  • Discrimination,
  • Dismissal and retirement,
  • Diversity,
  • Family-friendly policies and flexible working,
  • Temporary and contract work arrangements,
  • Stress and mental health,
  • Privacy and human rights,
  • Sustainability and ethical business,
  • Collective bargaining and industrial action,
  • Remuneration models, including executive remuneration and banking reform,
  • Gender pay inequalities,
  • Immigration and talent, and
  • Impact of recent political and world events and expected HR challenges.


In early 2022, respondents reported a decline in pandemic-related issues and a shift in attention towards managing the aftermath of COVID-19.

Todd Solomon (IBA GEI co-chair and a partner at US-based McDermott Will & Emery) said: “As we move into a post-pandemic phase, some challenges will disappear, and others will invariably emerge.

“In particular, companies in many sectors will be required to integrate adapted working practices and new perceptions of the modern workplace that have been consolidated during the pandemic into a post-pandemic working environment.”

The data from the surveyed lawyers demonstrates corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ESG are two concepts that are becoming increasingly relevant, though approaches vary widely, he added.

In Belgium, for example, the government has declared that all company cars must be fully electric by 2026 in order to be tax deductible.

Green energy

The Taiwanese government has announced that larger companies must set up initiatives to transition to at least ten per cent green energy within five years from 2021.

Some countries, including Brazil, Chile and the Czech Republic reported a reduction in workplace use of plastic cups and paper, while many Portuguese companies have implemented policies on electricity conservation and recycling.

Post-pandemic, mental-health issues in the workplace have received increased attention in the HR sector.

The report points to Ireland’s earmarking of an additional €10 million in 2022 to promote supportive mental-health services.

The Latvian government has approved a proposal from its Ministry of Health to issue an additional €7 million for the provision of psychological support to the working population.

Nigeria and Taiwan have implemented voluntary therapy sessions or video counselling services for those experiencing mental-health difficulties and, in Kenya, respondents noted the introduction of training sessions on mental health, and mental-health hotlines.

Other key findings are on alternative working models, especially the ‘gig economy’.

There continues to be a reported shortage of skilled workers, which employers are trying to combat through attractive new working models, including options for working remotely or in a hybrid format.

Respondents from Germany and the US noted fixed amounts of weekly working time, which can be distributed as each employee sees fit.

Innovative working arrangements

Shorter working weeks and unlimited holidays are among the innovative working arrangements reported on by the Czech Republic.

Several countries also noted the emergence of re-skilling, up-skilling and cross-skilling programmes within companies to boost the potential of existing employees.

France and the Republic of Ireland have lifted visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens to allow them to work legally in their new respective countries.

Many companies decided to withdraw their presence in Russia following the outbreak of war on 24 February 2022.

Respondents in the report noted a considerable number of the native working population in Russia leaving the country too.

In Germany, around one in ten companies reported using AI in 2021 – nearly double that of 2019.

The adoption of modern technologies in the retail and customer-support sectors was noted as the cause of visible job losses in Ireland, Poland and the US.

Legal job losses

Brazil also reported an increase in job losses in the legal sector.

IBA GEI member Björn Otto said: “In today's fast-moving world of work, companies are faced with a multitude of new challenges, which sometimes emerge with a time lag in individual jurisdictions.

"In such situations, the annual report provides an overview of how other countries deal with such challenges, and can serve as an early preparation tool.”

Gazette Desk
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