Low-wage jobs in the Swedish labor market. Which are the low-wage jobs, where are they, and why are they increasing?

Research project
Active research
Project size
4 200 000
Project period
2021 - 2024
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Forte: The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, AFA

Short description

There is an ongoing debate regarding transformations of the Swedish occupational structure. This researchproject will investigate the development of low-wage jobs in Sweden during the period 2005-2019. The purpose is to better understand and explain this development. We will describe whether these jobs are growing relative to other parts of the occupational structure, if they are a stepping-stone to better jobs, where these jobs arise - are they increasing mainly in metropolitan regions or more generally across the country - and seek explanations for the development of low-wage jobs.

Three overarching research questions will direct our study:

1. Are the low-wage jobs increasing, which people are found in these jobs, and where are the jobs geographically located?
2. Are the changes in numbers of low-wage jobs related to changes in institutions (e.g. subsidizedemployment, changes in the employment protection act)?
3. Does a low-wage job lead to a better job over time?

The statistical data that will be analyzed is the labor force survey (LFS) and register data (LISA). This data makes it possible to track the development on the labor market over time, and investigate how specific events effect the development, as well as study individual mobility. Tendencies to polarization of the occupational structure, where low-wage jobs as a group is growing, is a change that risks affecting society at large, which also can create growing regional differences. With better knowledge of this issue, society has a better basis for making the necessary decisions, both regionally and in society as a whole, for shaping the labor market.


Tomas Berglund, project leader

Patrik Vulkan

Johan Alfonsson