The Challenges of Polarization on Swedish Labour Market

Research project
Active research
Project size
18 000 000
Project period
2017 - 2022
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

This program addresses an important transformation of the Swedish labour market – the trend towards increased job polarization. From an international comparative perspective the Swedish labour market has often been described using the term the high road to full employment with a focus on high-quality goods and services, strong social partners devoted to solidaristic wage policies, and government investment in education and an encompassing welfare state. However, in the last decade this upgrading of the occupational structure seems to have come to a halt. Since the early 2000s the Swedish labour market has moved towards polarisation. High-paid jobs are still increasing but at a slower rate. Instead, the number of low-paid jobs is rising, while middle-layer jobs are decreasing. Thus, the Swedish labour market has started to resemble US & UK


Tomas Berglund, professor, programme leader

WP 1: Job polarisation and social structuration. Tomas Berglund och Olof Reichenberg, researcher
WP 2: Flexibilisation and Polarisation. Kristina Håkansson, professor och Tommy Isidorsson, senior lecturer
WP 3: Migration and Polarisation – patterns, mechanisms and experiences. Gabriella Elgenius, senior lecturer, Denis Frank, senior lecturer och Vedran Omanovic, senior lecturer at Dep of Business Administration
WP 4: Polarised work environment trajectories and consequences for trends of health and sick leave. Lotta Dellve, professor, Linda Corin, PhD in Work Science and Senior developer Organizational and social work environment Institute of Stressmedicine, Gunnel Hensing, professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
WP 5: The “workers’ collective” and polarisation: trade unions and workers’ representation. Bengt Larsson, professor, och Jesper Prytz, PhD-student
WP 6: Perceptions of occupations and occupational prestige – mechanisms of the polarisation of the occupational structure. Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson, senior lecturer och Erica Nordlander, senior lecturer.