Skip to main content

The New World of Work

Over the last 30 years, there have been substantial changes in the global labour market. In the Western countries factors such as globalization, technological advances and deindustrialization in combination with reoccurring economic crises have contributed to push the development of a more flexible workforce and the prevalence of non-standard employment forms has increased. The term “precarious employment” is used to describe a multidimensional set of unfavourable conditions in the employer-employee relation such as short-term and temporary contracts, as well as powerlessness, vulnerability, employment insecurity and insufficient wages. It is a rapidly evolving field of research and an important social determinant of health.

Hard-to-reach populations require new research strategies

Sweden has a long-standing tradition of survey and register-based labor market research of high quality but there are several challenges when investigating precarious employment and health. Firstly, very few studies apply a multi-dimensional approach. Secondly it is likely that many precarious workers don’t qualify for social security schemes or unemployment insurance and cannot properly be traced in the registries. Measuring outcomes through registers could also be increasingly difficult. In the case of occupational injuries it is mandatory for the employer to register all injuries, but studies from Denmark and Norway shows that under-reporting can be up to 90%. The situation in Sweden is still unknown. Thirdly, the response rates to most surveys have decreased rapidly over time, especially among those that are most likely to be in precarious employment. In conclusion, new sampling methods and improved surveys are needed in addition to exploring new ways to combine different data sources, including register data.


We will explore if precarious employment is associated to more severe occupational hazards and risk of occupational injury compared to the general working population.

We also aim to investigate changes in key economic indicators of business performance as risk factors for occupational accidents over short-term and long-term periods. Examples of key business indicators are size, profits, leverage, debt, liquidity and efficiency.

The projects also have methodological objectives including the translation of a multi-dimensional survey tool for precarious employment (EPRES) and to operationalize precarious employment in registers. We want to explore how survey data combined with registers can be used within this field and address issues of under-reporting.

Theo Bodin

Assistant professor

Johanna Jonsson

PhD student

Bertina Kreshpaj

Graduate Student

Publications and abstracts

A performance assessment of web-based respondent driven sampling among workers with precarious employment in Sweden.
Jonsson J, Stein M, Johansson G, Bodin T, Strömdahl S
PLoS ONE 2019 ;14(1):e0210183

Precarious employment, business performance and occupational injuries: a study protocol of a register-based Swedish project.
Orellana C, Kreshpaj B, Johansson G, Burström B, Kjellberg K, Hemmingsson T, et al
BMJ Open 2019 Feb;9(2):e026091

Precarious employment and mental health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.
Rönnblad T, Grönholm E, Jonsson J, Koranyi I, Orellana C, Kreshpaj B, Lingjing C, Stockfelt L, Bodin T. (2019).
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. doi:10.5271/sjweh.3797

Precarious employment and occupational accidents and injuries - a systematic review.
Koranyi I, Jonsson J, Rönnblad T, Stockfelt L, Bodin T
Scand J Work Environ Health 2018 07;44(4):341-350