This chapter presents a cross-national qualitative comparison, examining the extent to which the narratives of young Europeans experiencing unemployment and job insecurity have commonalities across nation states. Our starting point is interviews with men and women from three birth cohorts (1950–55, 1970–75 and 1990–95) in seven European countries. Using the concept of big-N narratives, we interpret common themes found in our data. We focus on subjective consequences, using the capability approach to understand how individual actors perceive their challenges, what they are capable of doing and what might help them. The chapter expands on previous work by proposing seven conversion factors as lenses for our analysis: institutional, social, economic, familial, cultural, political and personal. Reading the data through these lenses, four overarching narratives of unemployment emerge: the Stumbler narrative, the Stigmatized narrative, the Great Crisis narrative and the Messy Life narrative.
Kjetil Klette Bøhler, Veneta Krasteva, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Janikke Solstad Vedeler, Rumiana Stoilova and Ida Tolgensbakk
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.