A1 Journal article (refereed)
Labour Market Demands, Employability and Authenticity (2021)

Nikunen, M. (2021). Labour Market Demands, Employability and Authenticity. Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 4(3), 205-220. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43151-021-00049-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Nikunen, Minna

Journal or series: Journal of Applied Youth Studies

ISSN: 2204-9193

eISSN: 2204-9207

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 21/07/2021

Volume: 4

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 205-220

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication country: Singapore

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43151-021-00049-1

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77217


Finding employment has been a challenge for young adults in recent years. This is not only due to high unemployment rates, but also because entering working life is more complicated than before. It is no longer just a question of credentials and skills. ‘Employability’ depends on investments in personal capacities: labour market demands in recruitment exceed the capacity of employees’ bodies and minds. This article asks what demands for increasing one’s employability young adults (aged 18–30) experience in relation to their education and working life and how they respond to these ideas, especially to the idea of modifying their minds and bodies—habitus—in order to increase their employability. What demands are they complying with or resisting? How and why are they doing so? The article draws on interviews with 40 young Finnish women and men. The data analysis reveals that employability ideals emphasising affective and bodily capacities or dispositions are not shared by everyone. However, modifying one’s attitude or demeanour seems to be less threatening for young adults than does changing one’s appearance or body. Changes to one’s body are associated with rules and codes dictated from above, whereas changing one’s mindset is usually conceived of as self-development; thus, it is not seen as contrary to authenticity. Identification with a line of work is an important factor in accepting demands on one’s body or demeanour. It should be asked if the importance of authenticity for young adults entering working life should be taken into consideration in governmental youth and employment policies.

Keywords: working life; transferable skills; demands; young people; young adults; labour market; access to employment; attitudes; challenges; habitus; genuineness; self-education

Free keywords: employability; young adults; affective labour; authenticity; habitus

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:13