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Pepka Boyadjieva and Petya Ilieva-Trichkova

The chapter asks how the situation of early job insecurity affects young people’s scope for exercising agency with regard to employment. It draws on theoretical underpinnings of the capability approach and uses information from 81 life-course interviews with young people born between 1990 and 1995 from seven European countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom). The analysis reveals the existence of several patterns (mechanisms) of the effects of a situation of early job insecurity on young people’s agency: (1) Patterns of realized interactions with institutions and individuals: self-relying agency, self-improving agency, institutionally enabled agency, informally enabled agency and agency enabled by social commitment; (2) Patterns of non-realized interactions with institutions and individuals: disoriented and unmotivated agency, hampered agency and blocked agency. The study also applies a cross-national comparative perspective and demonstrates the social embeddedness of patterns of agency.

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Pepka Boyadjieva, Valentina Milenkova, Galin Gornev, Kristina Petkova and Diana Nenkova

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Christian Imdorf, Lulu P. Shi, Stefan Sacchi, Robin Samuel, Christer Hyggen, Rumiana Stoilova, Gabriela Yordanova, Pepka Boyadjieva, Petya Ilieva-Trichkova, Dimitris Parsanoglou and Aggeliki Yfanti

Episodes of unemployment or deskilling work can signal low ability to employers and impede individuals’ employment chances. In this chapter we analyse how the scarring effects of experiences of job insecurity vary across countries. We presented fictitious CVs integrated in an online survey to 1920 respondents recruiting for real jobs in five occupational fields in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland. Our findings show that unemployment scarring is strongest in Norway, followed by Switzerland, and is weaker in Bulgaria and Greece. Work experience in deskilling jobs as well as frequent changes of jobs (job-hopping) are also found to decrease applicants’ chances. We interpret our findings with regard to different national economies (youth unemployment), employment protection legislation and education systems, arguing that these country-specific settings shape recruiters’ perceptions of individuals’ precarious job experience, which in turn influences their hiring decisions.