Negotiate Overcoming early job-insecurity in Europe
Panel at SAMSVAR seminar in Oslo. Photo: NOVA

Seminar in Oslo

by Nina Eriksen

June 23 2017 NEGOTIATE researchers from NOVA and HiOA presented findings at a seminar aimed at discussing unemployed young people in Norway.

Christer Hyggen gave insights into recruiters’ evaluations of young job applicants in Norway.

Recruiter’s evaluations

Early job insecurity among young job seekers may signal low abilities to employers and impede future employment chances. A main goal of NEGOTIATE is to better understand how early employment instability and unemployment affect the careers of young job seekers from the perspective of employers. European countries have been hit differently by the recent economic crisis and the proportion of young people in insecure job situations varies greatly.

The study presented provides insights into recruiters’ evaluations of young job applicants in different economic and policy contexts across Europe and will help to gain knowledge about some of the mechanisms driving cross-country variations in the individual consequences of early job insecurity.

In a survey distributed to recruiters, the researchers considered different markers of early job insecurity, such as unemployment, work experience in deskilling jobs, and job hopping.

Read about the results in Policy Brief no. 6: Employers assessments of young job applicants: Findings from a comparative study

Life satisfaction

Janikke S. Vedeler and Ida Tolgensbakk talked about youth unemployment and the consequences for life satisfaction and social trust.

In an effort to understand the subjective effects of youth unemployment in Europe, the NEGOTIATE project conducted life story interviews with 211 individuals from seven countries and three cohorts (1950–1955, 1970–1975 and 1990–1995). The participating countries were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Norway, Poland and the UK. The Norwegian team has written the report , with important inputs from all the participating national teams.

Policy recommendations

The interviewees called for better, individually tailored governmental services, rendered by employment agency caseworkers who do not only see you as a number, but as an individual. Many interviewees told of feeling that their skills and experiences were overlooked. Furthermore, the interviewees expressed a need for the development of better active labour market measures that would enhance rather than reduce their employability.

It is important to the interviewees not to be trapped by such measures, but to enter the competitive labour market as soon as possible. For some interviewees, private employment agencies have been important, and many wish for these to be better incorporated in governmental policies. However, these agencies normally only provide temporary jobs that foster precariousness and poor working conditions. Hence, interviewees asked for better regulation. The findings are presented in working paper 4.4.

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by Ischi Graus

In April 2017 the Consortium members of the NEGOTIATE project came together at the University of Girona in Spain for our fourth progress meeting.

With less than a year left to finalise the project, the many researchers involved are well on their way to shaping the final outcomes of their papers. Research shows that being unemployed when young leads to many negative outcomes – scarring effects – in later life stages in terms of well-being, health, subsequent lower pay, higher unemployment and reduced life chances.

In the research conducted empirical data was retrieved from life-course interviews with three cohorts that all have experienced insecure labour markets across nine different European countries, Norway, the UK, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

During the Lightening talks, where all researchers were presenting their main findings thus far, the deep effects, or scarring effects, of early job insecurity and youth unemployment become gravely clear; young people without a job are more likely to turn to drugs, have psychological problems, have difficulty transitioning into adulthood and this can drag on for many years throughout the course of their lives. However, differences are identified when it comes to the severity of the economic situation on national level and policy coordination.

When it concerns policy coordination, or any type of stimulation from the state’s side, it appears to be somewhat difficult to simply say that any type of measure is a good one. Giving financial incentives to employers to hire young people, doesn’t have the needed long-term effects, work training also doesn’t necessarily seem to help. In addition, the researchers in the project are exploring in what way European states can coordinate, on different levels, to assure sustainable improvement for young people.

The upcoming months everyone involved in the project will focus on finalising their papers, the final conference, that is to take place in Brussels in December, and finalising two main volumes to be published the beginning of 2018 in which the main messages of all the different papers will be combined.

To stay up to date on the outcomes of the NEGOTIATE project follow us on facebook and twitter.

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NEGOTIATE findings highly relevant for national stakeholders

by Greta Juul

Stakeholders found the Negotiate findings highly relevant for their organisations and interesting for policy decisions at the second Norwegian stakeholder meeting in Oslo.

The second Norwegian national stakeholder meeting took place on February 21th 2017 at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA-NOVA). Representatives from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), private consultancies (previously Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), Oslo Region European Office (ORE) and representatives of Akershus Youth Council met to discuss the progress of the NEGOTIATE project.

The overarching aim of the meeting was to present the NEGOTIATE research results, discuss how the results could improve the understanding of early job insecurity and the entrance to the labour market in Norway, and how to respond politically to these challenges.

Greta Juul welcomed the national stakeholders and gave a short introduction on the progress of the NEGOTIATE project. Further, NEGOTIATE’s scientific coordinator Bjørn Hvinden underlined the importance of having a close collaboration with stakeholders concerning the NEGOTIATE project results on policy coordination, and the importance of receiving the stakeholders’ perspectives on the research results.

Christer Hyggen presented the results from the NEGOTIATE employer survey, and gave an introduction on the understanding of how early job insecurity can affect individuals’ future carrier. He talked about the history back to the lost generation and the situation today. What do employers emphasise when they are hiring youth, and what kind of political improvements could be recommended?

Further, Janikke Vedeler and Ida Tolgensbakk presented the results from life story interviews the NEGOTIATE team has conducted in seven European countries. The majority of the interviewed people have been, or are still, affected by unemployment or its scarring effects – through economic and social exclusion. Policy recommendations were highlighted in the areas of education, employment services and the practices of employers.

The National stakeholders contributed actively in the discussions, and underlined that the NEGOTIATE research results are important to enhance the knowledge in their own organisations, and to give policy recommendations based on research results.

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Home care worker with elderly couple sitting in sofa. Photo: colourbox

The Bulgarian team presented NEGOTIATE papers at a Jubilee conference in Sofia

by Greta Juul

On 10-11 of March 2017, the Bulgarian NEGOTIATE project team took part in a Jubilee conference “HOW WE LIVE TOGETHER: COMMUNITIES, INSTITUTIONS, NETWORKS”. The event was organized by the Department of Sociology at the University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski” (

The NEGOTIATE project team participated with two papers.

Access to higher education

The first paper was presented by Pepka Boyadjieva and Petya Ilieva-Trichkova. Its title was “Social inclusion and social fairness in higher education: Theoretical distinctions and methodological implications”. Its aim was to problematize the access to higher education from a sociological perspective in two of its dimensions: inclusion and fairness. Building upon the John Rawls perspective of “justice as fairness” and Amartya Sen’s idea of justice, it has developed two indexes which reflect these perspectives: index of fairness and index of inclusion.

The paper used data from various surveys such as the EU LFS, Eurostudent, the European Social Survey and the Bulgarian Universities Ranking System and covered a wide range of European countries. The paper identified four patterns of relationship between inclusion and fairness.

Work abroad

The second paper was entitled “Work abroad as an opportunity for overcoming early job insecurity in Bulgaria”. It was presented by Rumiana Stoilova. The aim of this paper was to explain how key socio-demographic variables predict the intention to emigration and the emigration experience of young people. The paper used as a theoretical background the perspective of the life course studies and the social status theories and applied the Bulgarian school-leavers survey (2014) as an empirical basis for the study.

This paper demonstrated that the previous emigration experience is one of the strongest predictors of emigration intentions. It also showed that the unemployment status increases the likelihood for positive intention for labor emigration and economic inactivity increases the chances to have previous emigration experience. These conclusions contribute to the debate about the high rates of NEETs in Bulgaria.

Words by Petya Ilieva-Trichkova

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Waiting outside closed door for job interview.

Presentation of NEGOTIATE results at the EU-User Conference in Mannheim, Germany

by Ischi Graus

On 2 and 3 March the 5th EU-User Conference was organised by GESIS, Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. This edition focused on labour market, young adulthood, income dynamics, innovations, gender wage gap as well as on methodological topics. Our colleagues M. Symeonakei, M. Karamessini and G. Stamatopoulou from the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences were invited to give a presentation titled ‘Introducingan an index of early job insecurity: a comparative analysis among European countries with evidence from the EU-LFS.

Besides, briefly presenting the NEGOTIATE project the presentation mainly evolved around the contents of the research conducted by our colleagues from the Panteion University. The aim for their work is to propose an index for measuring the degree of early jobs insecurity, compare European countries in order to consider whether there’s a convergence or a divergence when it comes to early job insecurity and to cluster those countries producing different clusters of countries according to the degree of early job insecurity present in the country. In order to do so, they explained what job insecurity actually entails, dividing it as a subjective experience and an objective one. Subjectively it’s either the individual’s estimate of the probability that one will lose their job in the future or the fear, worry or anxiety of losing one’s job. Objectively, job insecurity is rather linked to human capital, labour mobility, job search, job matching and turnover, job competition and labour market segmentation.

They then explained where they got their data from (EU-LFS 2014, people aged between 15-29 years), its limitations, indicators (concerning labour market outcomes, employment (in)security, job quality, transitions form school and relative changes in unemployment rates), and finally what methodology they used to get to the early job insecurity index. The results show that there are significant differences between countries, with the Southern European countries scoring the lowest when it comes to job insecurity.

Presentation GESIS

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