Report on

New forms of work among young people: Implications for the working environment

Changes in the labour market globally and in the Nordic countries entail new forms of work and atypical employment for young workers. The young people portrayed in the present report are between 21 and 30 years old, and they represent a wide variety of working lives. They live and work in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Most of them are in a period of their lives when they are establishing themselves in the labour market; only one of them has a daily life with children. They are included in this book because each of them represents a different type of employment and working life experience that reflects a labour market undergoing major change.

Furthermore, the focus on young workers is also important because young workers have a higher risk of occupational accidents, and they are more likely to report skin contact with chemicals, wet work, and handling of heavy loads at work, compared with older workers. A significant proportion of young workers are in temporary positions, working irregular working hours, and part-time work is increasing among young workers. In order to prevent and reduce working-environment problems among young workers, it is important to know more about new employment forms, and these are described in this report. Some of these new employment forms, such as working on online platforms as gamers, YouTubers or influencers, move into the borderland of the meanings we usually ascribe to the categories ‘work’ and ‘working environment’. This development also
applies to traditional professions, such as carpentry or service work, but the new aspect is that the work is mediated through online platforms, and this seems to affect the working environment for these young workers. We can see from these cases that the young workers face many of the same challenges across the Nordic countries
regarding new and atypical types of employment. Related dynamics on the labour market in the Nordic countries provide a common basis for fruitful discussions and exchange of knowledge on this pertinent problem. New and more effective initiatives might be needed in order to counter the global changes in economies and the labour market, and new ideas are needed in order to reach young people where they work and to ensure a sustainable working life for all young workers in the Nordic countries.

The report gives voice to the young people and their narratives about the risks and workplace issues that they have sensed on their own bodies, and that they consider the most relevant.

Read the full report here.

Authors:
Mette Lykke Nielsen, Centre for Youth Studies (CeFU), Aalborg University, Denmark.
Louise Yung Nielsen, Communication and Arts, Roskilde University, Denmark.
Kari Anne Holte, NORCE, Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen, Norway.
Åsa Andersson, Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Gestur Gudmundsson, School of Education, University of Iceland, Iceland.
Thamar Melanie Heijstra, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Sociology, Anthropology and Folkloristics, University of Iceland, Iceland.
Johnny Dyreborg, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark.

The publication was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.