more destandarised (Olk, 1992:193). Recently, rising unemployment levels have also been an important factor in making the transition process more complicated and unpredictable than ever. A variety of pathways into adulthood have developed in the wake of rising unemployment and transformations in the very structure of society.
Data and results
Cross-sectional data may give some clues to find out if, and to what extent, young people are affected by the changes we have discussed. Of course, effects do not necessarily turn up in the short run and not all changes directly influence young people’s situation directly. The rising unemployment and the expansion of the educational system seem to be the two most important changes directly affecting young people. By comparing three age groups (16-19 years, 20-24 years and 25-29 years) at four different points of time (1980, 1983, 1987 and 1991) we are able to discuss whether the transitions to work and a to independent households have changed during the 1980s.
Transition to work in the 1980s
As can be seen from figure 1, the proportions of those staying in stable full-time work has dropped considerably since 1987.
Figure 1. Full-time work by age group, gender and year.