Knowledge about labour, education, welfare and migration nationally and internationally

Platform work can be seen as one important case in which many key aspects of the changing world of work coalesce. As part of the ongoing project Nordic Future of Work, this report explores the development of platform work in the Nordic countries and the central issues of concern related to it.

The report also connects some of the themes explored in the other research subjects in the project, such as digitalization, new forms of employment and the legal and regulatory challenges currently faced by the social partners, governments and Nordic labour market models.

The pan-Nordic project as well as the report is commissioned by The Nordic Council of Ministries and led by Fafo.

An extended and updated paper in the Nordic Future of Work project studies whether the occupational structure in Nordic labour markets is changing in the direction of upgrading or polarization. Based on data from 2000 to 2015, the results show clear tendencies towards polarization in Denmark, especially after the 2008 crisis, while upgrading is the dominant tendency in Norway in recent years. The tendencies in Finland and Sweden lie between these two countries.  In Sweden, clear upgrading is found in the public sector and in production of tangible goods, while modest signs of polarization is found in the private sector as a whole.

By studying the occupational changes in more detail, the researchers find some evidence suggesting that technological change is a main driver of change, but also indications that political and economic factors should be taken into consideration to understand occupational change in the Nordic region.

In an article in Journal of Education and Work Tove Mogstad Aspøy explores the role competence upgrades may have in improving job quality in occupations characterized by poor working conditions. In light of institutional theory, the author discusses the reasoning behind the introduction of the certificate in cleaning. Why did one think that this could improve job quality in the profession?

On Thursday May 21 (15.00 Norwegian time), Svein Erik Stave and Tewodros Aragie Kebede will be participating in an online debate session concerning social protection policies in the Arab world. The Fafo researchers have been conducting research on how the corona situation is affecting the labour market in Jordan. The session is part of the Regional Dialogue Series on Social Protection Policies in the Arab world and will be streamed live stream on Facebook.

Fafo and the International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched the results of a rapid assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable workers in the Jordanian labour market. The assessment includes Syrian refugees, Jordanians, women and workers in informal employment.

Almost half of the respondents who were in employment before the COVID-19 outbreak, were currently out of work. Out of these, 13 per cent had been permanently dismissed, while 18 percent had been temporarily laid-off and 16 per cent were on paid leave. Syrian refugees were among those hardest hit as a result of their largely informal employment situation. A third who were in employment before the crisis had lost their jobs permanently, compared to 17 per cent of surveyed Jordanians.

A new book, published by Manchester University Press, explores the tensions that emerge within strong welfare states when faced with large migration flows. Nerina Weiss has contributed with a chapter on “The trauma of waiting: understanding the violence of the benevolent welfare state”.

In her chapter, Weiss focuses on the experiences of refugees who have received asylum, but who have been waiting for resettlement in Norwegian municipalities for years. She investigates how this waiting is experienced, and whether and how this affects their relationship to the Norwegian state. She argues that refugees waiting for resettlement often experience the welfare state as imponderable, negligent and, at times, as utterly violent.