Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

The Swedish Model in the Post-Financial Crisis Era

Edited by Christina Garsten, Jessica Lindvert and Renita Thedvall

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, people who had never before had cause to worry about losing their jobs entered the ranks of the unemployed for the first time. In Sweden, the welfare state has been radically challenged and mass unemployment has become a reality in what used to be viewed as a model case for a full employment society. With an emphasis on Sweden in the context of transnational regulatory change, Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market discusses how the market mediates employment and moves on to explore the ways in which employees adjust to a new labour market. Focusing on the legibility, measurability and responsibility of jobseekers, the expert contributors of this book bring together an analysis of activation policy and new ways of organizing the mediation of work, with implications for the individual jobseeker.

Chapter 5: A labour market of opportunities? Specialists assess work ability and disability

Ida Seing

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Both labour market policy and the labour market today are characterized by demands and expectations on people to market themselves, have the right attitude and personality, in order to get a job. Human abilities, knowledge and skills are put forward as central tools for competing in the modern labour market and being resistant to unemployment and social exclusion (Fogde 2009; Garsten and Jacobsson 2004). This is a development that reflects a new view of the individual, who is expected to take responsibility for unemployment and employment. The trend has been formulated in terms of an ideological shift, where social responsibility has shifted from society to the individual – from the right to employment to an obligation to be employable (Garsten and Jacobsson 2004). In the labour market policy in Sweden, the Public Employment Service’s orientation towards self-service, courses in entrepreneurial business, learning to write CVs and practice job interviews are examples of how such ideas are expressed in a local context (Benson 2008; Fogde 2009; Thedvall 2004). In recent years, the number of groups outside the regular labour market has grown. Research and public reports show, for example, that the number of people referred to sheltered employment and receiving wage subsidies has increased markedly in the last decades (Holmqvist 2009; Jacobsson and Seing 2013). According to Public Employment Service statistics (AKU) for 2014, 27.4 per cent of all registered jobseekers between the ages of 16 and 64 have a registered disability. As a comparison, in 1992, 10 per cent of all registered jobseekers were classified as disabled.

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