In social policy discussions about activation or ALMP (Active Labour Market Policies), most attention is paid to supply-side approaches, directed towards jobless individuals. In these discussions, little attention is given to demand-side approaches aimed at activating employers, or combined workplace-oriented approaches that combine supply and demand-side elements. The aim of this article is to introduce demand-side and combined approaches developed within the fields of disability policy and vocational rehabilitation to scholarly discussions about activation and ALMP.
By comparing these three approaches, we show that demand-side and combined approaches challenge key assumptions underlying the dominant supply-side approaches. They do so by representing different views of a) work – as a right instead of a duty; b) the problem of reduced work capacity – not as individual failure, but rather as a prejudice in attitudes among employers or as a gap between capacities and demands; c) the employers and the labour market – as transformable instead of fixed.
Supply-side, demand-side and combined workplace-oriented approaches share the aim of labour market integration; however, their developments seem to have taken place largely in isolation from each other. We argue that when brought together they could form a more comprehensive base for further development of labour market integration.