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Sustainable employability (SE) is an important topic as it deals with employees' abilities to function adequately at work and in the labor market throughout their working lives. However, until now there has been only one attempt to define SE in the international literature (1). This first definition is a valuable contribution to the field as it rightfully describes SE as a multidimensional concept, recognizes the importance of both employee and work characteristics, and acknowledges the inherently longitudinal nature of SE. Despite these merits, we argue that this definition of SE has some serious omissions that are important in capturing SE comprehensively. Specifically, we argue that the definition could be improved in various ways, namely, it should: (i) clarify which aspects of employment constitute someone's SE; (ii) not counterintuitively treat SE as a characteristic of both the job and the employee simultaneously; (iii) not be based on the insufficiently tested assumption that achieving value in work inherently leads to SE; (iv) be formulated in a way that SE can also apply to unemployed individuals; and (v) adequately specify how the inherently longitudinal dimension of SE should be addressed. We would like to contribute to the discussion by providing guidelines for a new adjusted definition of SE that could facilitate further research on this important concept and its determinants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-560
Number of pages4
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Health
Issue number6
Early online date22 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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