Nonstandard Employment in the Nordics – Toward Precarious Work?

Keywords: Employment, Wages, Unemployment & Rehabilitation, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners


This article examines nonstandard employment and precariousness in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway). Drawing on data from the Labour Force Survey from 1995 to 2015, the article investigates and compares recent developments of nonstandard employment in the countries and analyzes whether fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work, marginal part-time work and solo self-employment have precarious elements (measured as income or job insecurity). We conclude that nonstandard employment has remained rather stable in all four countries over time. However, although nonstandard employment seems to be largely integrated in the Nordic labor markets, it still entails precarious elements in certain countries in particular. Norway and Denmark stand out as having less insecure labor markets, while Finland and Sweden have more precariousness associated with nonstandard employment. We argue that these differences are explained by differences in the institutional contexts in the countries.

Author Biographies

Stine Rasmussen, Aalborg University


Associate professor, Center for Labour Market Research (CARMA). E-mail:

Jouko Nätti, University of Tampere


Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

Trine Pernille Larsen, University of Copenhagen


Associate professor,  Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS)

Anna Ilsøe, University of Copenhagen


Associate professor,  Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS)

Anne Helene Garde, National Research Centre for the Working Environment



How to Cite
Rasmussen, S., Nätti, J., Larsen, T. P., Ilsøe, A., & Garde, A. H. (2019). Nonstandard Employment in the Nordics – Toward Precarious Work?. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 9(S6).