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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Work identity is a multidimensional construct attached to job, occupation, workplace, or organization. This chapter highlights the precarious labor market that contemporary young workers confront worldwide and how the shifting economic terrain may be changing the ways younger workers understand their work and the formation of their work identities. Employment has become more transitory, insecure, and nonstandard, rendering young workers’ school-to-work transition increasingly prolonged and difficult; the authors propose that work identities may also become more individualized and destandardized. Stryker’s identity theory and Rosenberg’s theory of self-concept formation offer important insights regarding the mechanisms through which more insecure and less rewarding jobs for young workers may diminish work’s position in the hierarchy of role identities. Work identities may also become more flexible as workers adjust themselves to their changing employment circumstances. Given increasing inequalities in work conditions, growing disparities in the formation and character of work identities are expected.

Keywords: Work identity, young adults, transition to adulthood, precarious employment, identity formation

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