Working life research and the future Where are the working life researchers in the debate about the future? asks Ann Bergman, Professor in working life science at the University of Karlstad. Despite big changes when it comes to gender, ethnicity and class, not many studies consider how this will influence working life. At the Norwegian Work Research Institute, researchers have been studying the vision of the new working life, where work is said to be more about doing something meaningful than earning money. Is that right? And how will the enormous flow of information known as Big Data influence working life research?
This summer Ann Bergman really managed to ignite the debate on working life research. In an article in the Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies she asked why working life researchers are so uninterested in the future.
Big Data is the new buzzword for the enormous increase in stored information across the world. But how will this information stream influence working life and working life research?
For many years there has been talk about the new working life, where work is more about doing something meaningful than about making money. But are we really seeing the emergence of a new type of independent worker who feels collective agreements and permanent contracts are nothing but obstacles?
Today nearly three times as many Swedes are negative towards undeclared work compared to six years ago. One explanation to this change in attitudes are the household tax breaks introduced in 2007 and 2008. Now the government is reducing the size of the deduction and critics warn against an increase in undeclared labour.
In Norway staff from six different authorities have gathered in joint offices in Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger to fight the shadow economy. Building sites and other workplaces have been targeted in coordinated operations by 120 investigators. The results have been good so far. The operations run alongside campaigns against undeclared work and have had broad media coverage.
The Danish government wants to ban the hunting for undeclared work in private gardens. The social partners and the opposition fear this will lead to more social dumping.
If Nordjobb had been established as a result of labour market policies it would probably never have lasted for 30 years. But getting youths short term jobs in a Nordic neighbouring country is about so much more.
Young people travel across the Nordic region to work with tourists, weed spinach fields and public parks or pack prawns in Greenland — all thanks to Nordjobb. And the experiences are all unique.
“Wow! Has it already been 30 years since Nordjobb started up!” Eva Jakobson Vaagland, the first Nordjobb project leader in Norway, is surprised when we call her.
As soon as Loa Brynjulfsdottir was old enough, she applied for a job through Nordjobb. That was in 1990 and the start of many years working through Nordjobb and a strong feeling of Nordic belonging.
For some, Nordjobb means that life takes a new and interesting turn. For Gunvor Kronman the job in Danish Aalborg had a dramatic and crucial impact.
The challenge facing politicians is helping two million adults who lack the necessary skills for working and social life to secure a chance to develop, says Anders Rosdahl. He is a senior research fellow at the Danish National Centre for Social Research, and the Danish representative in the network which has just presented the Nordic PIAAC report.
For the first time ever there is a Nordic version of the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, PIAAC. PIAAC was first published in 2013. The survey comprises comparative data from 24 countries.
Our capacity to learn at work is to a large degree dependent on what we have learned in school, and working life cannot fully compensate for differences in formal schooling. That is according to a new Nordic survey which builds on the OECD’s large skills survey PIAAC. Many women in a gender segregated labour market are even loosing their numeracy skills.
Numeracy is more important for participating in working life than previously thought. An OECD assessment of adult competencies shows that being bad at maths increases the risk of unemployment and influences wage levels.
There are no shortcuts for creating a foundation for the skills needed in working life. It is a time consuming process. Finland’s good results in international surveys stem from a 1970s school reform. The results are now at risk due to cuts and readjustments. Estonia, meanwhile, is catching up with the Nordic countries.