Good Work! Youth Barometer 2019

Lotta Haikkola & Sami Myllyniemi (Eds.)


The Youth Barometer is an interview study that measures the attitudes of young people aged 15–29 living in Finland. It has been carried out annually since 1994. The 2019 Youth Barometer is based on 1,907 telephone interviews and its theme is work and entrepreneurship.

Year after year, the barometers have shown that young people are serious about working life. The overwhelming majority of young people reject the claim that to be happy you do not need to work. The importance of work as a life value is growing and young people are willing to relocate for work and are prepared to postpone starting a family because of a job opportunity. Three out of four say they would rather accept a job than live on social security, even if it meant they would not be earning any more money.

Young people are committed to work, but this does not necessarily mean commitment all the way to retirement. Almost half of young people would like to be wealthy enough to be able to retire before the official retirement age. Nine out of ten would like their job to live up to their own values, and only a minority are happy to do any job as long as it is adequately paid. Work is not only a means of obtaining financial compensation, nor is it a moral obligation either. Work must have something to offer the young person.

As there are high expectations for jobs, it should come as no surprise that almost half of students find the process of making a career choice stressful and one in three find it frightening. However, the overwhelming majority of students say they find the transition to working life exciting. More than two in three fee that they have been given sufficient guidance in their career choices. There is more dissatisfaction among students in higher education, which suggests that universities and universities of applied sciences should invest in career guidance for students.

The Youth Barometer’s interviews give a very positive overall picture of young people's relationship with their work. On average, young people in 2019 rate their satisfaction with their current job with a higher school grade (8.2) than before. Nine out of ten young people feel that they can make good use of their skills in their job, consider their work relevant and are enthusiastic about their work. Three out of four young people who work feel their working life and free time is in balance. Entrepreneurs and highly educated young people find their work particularly inspiring and meaningful.

On the other hand, one in five young people who are working often experiences anxiety about work issues in their free time, and more than a third often have to work overtime to get their work done. Young women, in particular, find their work mentally draining, and they also tend to experience anxiety about work in their free time more frequently than young men. One of the key findings is young people's experience of the blurring of lines between work and free time. Previously, the boundary was very distinct for a clear majority, but now this is the case for only a minority. The blurring of lines between work and leisure is strongly linked to experiencing anxiety about work issues also during free time and experiencing work as mentally stressful. On the other hand, particularly those people who are enthusiastic about their work feel the boundary between work and free time is unclear, as do those whose career choice has involved the possibility of making a hobby into a job.

Young people feel very confident about getting a permanent job, with nearly nine in ten considering it likely in their career. The majority believe that they will exceed their parents’ standard of living. On the other hand, over a third of young people are concerned about whether they will have work in the future. About as many are concerned about coping with workload. Even ten years ago, young women were more worried about coping with workload, and the gender gap has grown over time. Young women believe clearly more often than young men that they will change their job and profession during their careers. Although young women are more highly educated than young men, they also consider their position in the labour market to be more risky. According to the majority of young people, being unemployed is not a bad thing if their income is secure. According to trends, young people have the most critical attitude to unemployment when jobs are scarce. Young women are more empathetic than young men about unemployment, whereas young men have stronger opinions about unemployment. The majority of young men and the minority of young women, consider living on social security to be too easy. Two out of three think that young unemployed people should do some kind of work that benefits society in exchange for unemployment benefits. Over the quarter of a century that the Barometer has been carried out, criticism of the conditionality of unemployment benefits has slowly increased. Support for basic income, on the other hand, is declining slightly among young people, and now slightly more oppose rather than support the idea of a basic income for all. There are more entrepreneurs among the respondents than in previous Youth Barometers, and more and more young people who are not entrepreneurs say they want to try entrepreneurship at some point in their career. More than three out of four believe that entrepreneurship will become more common in the future. Almost all young entrepreneurs are selfemployed because they want to be, not because they are forced to be by circumstances. Young entrepreneurs feel that they are more frequently in work that corresponds to their education than the young people who are employees.

More and more young people feel that they have received good basic knowledge of entrepreneurship at school, and on the whole, a positive attitude to entrepreneurship has strengthened among young people. Three out of four consider keeping companies in Finnish ownership to be important for Finland's future, and an equal number believe that entrepreneurship is a way of influencing society. Entrepreneurship is widely perceived to be the freedom to fulfil one's own dreams. Half of young people subscribe to the idea that it is easier to become prosperous with entrepreneurship than with paid employment. As a kind of condensed portrayal of the times, more than two in three feel that an entrepreneurial attitude is needed in all work. Therefore, based on many indicators,entrepreneurship is increasing in popularity among young people.

Keywords: young people, work, entrepreneurship, attitudes