FRAGMENTED WORK CAREERS? – RESEARCH PROJECT (2018–2020) FUNDED BY THE FINNISH WORK ENVIRONMENT FUND

 

As a result of global competition and technological development, labour markets are undergoing continuous change. According to some estimates jobs disappear while others stress the changing nature of work, especially as a result of the automatization and robotization of tasks. These changes affect industrial export industries in many ways. Employees are required to have more and more specialized knowhow and continuous readiness to change. Theories of job polarization have warned that this leads to the creation of low- and high-skill jobs, while the middle is being hollowed out.

We estimate the impact of these changes on the stability of employment and careers. We ask how work careers have developed in specific industrial sectors and at different levels of education compared to the working age population as a whole in recent decades. We use FLEED – the linked employer-employee data of Statistics Finland – to follow the total populations of 15–70-year-olds from 1988 until 2016, analyzing the stability of employment and income and examining changes of workplace, occupation and industry, also through re-training. We focus on the forest, metal and chemical sectors and their employees at various educational levels. We also ask whether firm’s investments in research and  development (R & D) and ICT are associated with positive career development of personnel in times of globalization and technological change. Our methodological approach is an application of sequence analysis suitable to estimate the stability of careers across cohorts and over time.

The progress of the project will be discussed regularly in a steering group consisting of representatives of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and employees’ and employers’ labor market organizations. The outcomes of the project will include new findings on the stability of working careers in various industrial sectors and various types of companies. The results are presented at conferences and at an article symposium in 2020 and published in scientific journals.

 

Postdoctoral and responsible researcher

Satu Ojala