Job Creation through the Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship

Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Year: 2013

The social economy has received increasing policy attention in recent decades, particularly with regard to its contribution to employment. Much has been written about the potential role of the social economy as a solution to unemployment. It has been estimated that social economy organisations (SEOs) broadly defined as co-operatives, mutuals, associations and foundations, together account for 6.5% of aggregate employment in the European Union (Monzon and Chavez, 2012). However recent policy attention has more narrowly focused on the role of SEOs in work integration for vulnerable groups (such as the long term unemployed, or those with physical or mental health issues). At the same time, little is known about working conditions within SEOs, particularly for these vulnerable individuals.

This report examines the role of SEOs in the provision of employment, and how they have fared during the recent period of economic turbulence. Attention was also paid to SEOs working with vulnerable individuals, either as direct providers of jobs, or providers of training and services designed to help vulnerable individuals into the mainstream labour market. In particular, the research sought to gain greater understanding of working conditions within these SEOs, and the challenges they faced in providing high quality employment while having to keep costs low in order to operate in competitive markets.

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The report has in two distinct parts. The first part, whose structure is outlined below, situates the focus of the research within the wider literatures and explores the data from a survey undertaken in eight countries. The second part of the report provides a short overview of the social economy within the surveyed territories and the survey results from those territories.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Job Creation Through The Social Economy And Social Entrepreneurship
The Social Economy
Defining the social economy
A note on social enterprise
International comparative studies of the social economy and social enterprise
Activities of social economy organisations
Funding sources of social economy organisations
The Contribution of the Social Economy to Employment
The work integration dimension of the social economy
Employment quality in the social economy
Overview of the Cases
Funding sources
Sectors of operation
Age of the social economy organisations
Numbers of jobs provided by social economy organisations
Employment Creation by the Social Economy Organisations
Factors influencing changes in employment levels
Social Economy Organisations Working with Vulnerable Groups
Types of work with vulnerable groups
Indicators of success in work with vulnerable groups
Employment Quality in Social Economy Organisations
Challenges in delivering employment quality
Policy Interventions and Conclusions
Suggested policy interventions to support SEOs’ role in employment creation
Suggested policy interventions to support SEOs’ work with vulnerable individuals
Suggested policy interventions to improve job quality in the social economy
Concluding thoughts and interventions: a tale of two social economies
PART 2: Territorial Data
Tasmania, Australia
Western Sydney, Australia
Flanders, Belgium
British Columbia, Canada
Quebec, Canada
Burgundy, France
Brittany, France
Lombardy, Italy
Puglia, Italy
Regiunea Centru, Romania
Regiunea Sud Est, Romania
Östergötland, Sweden
Västra Götaland, Sweden