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FoWnordics: Pillar III - Self-employed, independent and atypical work

Non-standard work – defined as employment contracts other than full-time open-ended positions – has become more widespread in parts of the Nordic labour markets since the Global Financial Crisis.

An increasingly larger share of the Nordic workforce work under non-standard employment arrangements such as marginal part-time, temporary agency work, fixed-term contracts and self-employed without employees.

Furthermore, new forms of non-standard work has emerged like click work on digital platforms and zero-hour contracts often challenging current employment and work environment regulation.

However, wide cross-national variations exist among the Nordic countries. Temporary contracts – covering both fixed-term contracts and temporary agency work – seem most widespread in Sweden and Iceland, whereas a comparatively larger share of Danish employees holds marginal part-time positions.

In Finland, the incidence of self-employed without employees is comparatively higher than in the other four Nordic countries.

The aim of this sub-project is to map the development of non-standard work in the Nordics since 2000 and the mechanisms behind. We also seek to offer insights in emerging forms of non-standard work and develop methods that can inspire national statistical offices to find ways to include these groups in their statistics.

Furthermore, we seek to uncover relevant policy responses among public authorities and the social partners in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, which can serve as inspiring examples for how the increasing amount and variety of non-standard work can be handled.


Pillar coordinator

Anna IlsøeAssociate professor, Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS) at Copenhagen University.


Reports and events

  1. Final report: Anna Ilsøe and Trine Pernille Larsen (ed): Non-standard work in the Nordics: Troubled waters under the still surface, TemaNord 2021:503, februar 2021
  2. Rasmussen, Stine, Jouko Nätti,Trine Pernille Larsen, Anna Ilsøe and Anne Helene Garde (2019). Nonstandard Employment in the Nordics – Toward Precarious Work? Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, Vol 9, Special issue No 56
  3. Larsen, Trine P. and Anna Ilsøe (2019). Atypical labour markets in the Nordics: Troubled waters under the still surface? Nordic future of work Brief 4
  4. Rasmussen, Stine, Trine Pernille Larsen, Anna Ilsøe and Per Kongshøj Madsen (2019). Atypical labour markets in Denmark.Nordic future of work Brief 5
  5. Berglund, Tomas, Anna Hedenus, Kristina Håkansson and Tommy Isidorsson (2019). Atypical labour markets in Sweden.Nordic future of work Brief 6
  6. Nergaard, Kristine (2019). Atypical labour markets in Norway. Nordic future of work Brief 7
  7. Ólafsdóttir, Katrín, Kolbeinn Stefánsson and Arney Einarsdóttir (2019). Atypical labour markets in Iceland. Nordic future of work Brief 8
  8. Ojala, Satu, Tiina Saari, Pasi Pyöriä and Paul Jonker-Hoffrén (2019). Atypical labour markets in Finland. Nordic future of work Brief 9

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