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The Challenges of Polarization on Swedish Labour Market

This is a resarch program and consist of six different research projects. See below.

This program addresses an important transformation of the Swedish labour market – the trend towards increased job polarization. From an international comparative perspective, the Swedish labour market has often been described using the term “the high road” to full employment with a focus on high-quality goods and services, strong social partners devoted to solidaristic wage policies, and government investment in education, and an encompassing welfare state. However, in the last decade this upgrading of the occupational structure seems to have come to a halt.

Since the early 2000s, the Swedish labour market has moved towards polarisation. High-paid jobs are still increasing, but at a slower rate. Instead, the number of low-paid jobs is rising, while middle-layer jobs are decreasing. Thus, the Swedish labour market has started to resemble the US and UK.

This programme aims to study trends of polarisation in the Swedish labour market, and analyse possible consequences for individuals, unions and employers, as well as more general societal consequences. The patterns, trends and experiences of polarization challenge the societies as well as research to the core.

Firstly, research is required to discern the kind of jobs that are increasing and decreasing in a polarised labour market, and how polarisation interacts with other trends, such as increased temporary employment, rising migration and decreased unionisation.

Secondly, we need to know how the new job structure is distributed among such social categories as gender, age, ethnicity, and education/class background, and whether polarisation reinforces existing divides of inequality or creates new ones.

Thirdly, we must focus on the individual consequences regarding incomes, health and perceptions of insecurity and status.

Finally, we must find out why the Swedish “high road” seems to have come to an end. This project aim to answer these questions.

Programme duration: 2017 - 2022
Programme leader: Tomas Berglund

Projects included in the research program

WP 1: Job polarisation and social structuration. Tomas Berglund och Olof Reichenberg
WP 2: Flexibilisation and Polarisation. Kristina Håkansson och Tommy Isidorsson
WP 3: Migration and Polarisation – patterns, mechanisms and experiences. Gabriella Elgenius, Denis Frank och Vedran Omanovic
WP 4: Polarised work environment trajectories and consequences for trends of health and sick leave. Lotta Dellve, Linda Corin, Gunnel Hensing
WP 5: The “workers’ collective” and polarisation: trade unions and workers’ representation. Bengt Larsson och doktorand
WP 6: Perceptions of occupations and occupational prestige – mechanisms of the polarisation of the occupational structure. Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson och Erica Nordlander


Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 1/11/2017

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