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The Nordic Countries – Working there

Apart from a number of differences between the countries in the Nordic region as regards the structure and policies of their labour markets generally, there is a core of common types of approaches, standards and values which together de ne the nature of working life and labour market policy in the Nordic countries so that one can speak of a “Nordic model”, which in important areas is distinct from conditions in the labour market in most other countries – both in Europe and the rest of the world.

Over time we have developed a negotiating culture in the Nordic region between employers and employees founded on an understanding of the value of a well- organised labour market and where the state and the legislator have a detached and supporting role. An organisation rate that is high by international comparisons both on the employee and employer side has underpinned both the legitimacy and the functioning of the model. One can say that a “compromise competence” has been built up that is in contrast to relations between the two sides of the labour market in many other places.

It is essential to understand that this development has not taken place in a social or political vacuum but in a historical context with the establishment of our Nordic welfare societies based on a recognition of the social and human responsibility of the community. And just as there is a distinction between the Nordic region and many other countries in the labour market, the
Nordic countries also stand out in that they are characterised by less inequality and greater social security than most other countries. The political negotiating culture, where proportional representation has fostered a degree of pragmatism and a need for compromises, also chimes with the development in the labour market. This overall development has also led to prosperous and well-functioning societies. So when the Nordic model is referred to throughout the world, one does not only think of labour market conditions, but of the nature of our societies as a whole.

The theme of this report is not social policy in general, but working life and co- operation around it in the Nordic region. But there are many aspects to working life, and they cannot be clearly demarcated from other areas (e.g. education, health, migration). The democratic welfare society and the Nordic labour market model are preconditions for each other.

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Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Working life in the Nordic region: challenges and proposals

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