This article uses qualitative data from a study of young adults aged 20–34 in Bristol to explore the labour market transitions considered typical of contemporary advanced economies.The main objective of the article is to develop a typology of labour market pathways that illuminates the complexity and variability of lengthened youth transitions. In addition to this typology we explore the economic consequences of these pathways for young adults, showing that they are vulnerable to job change, unemployment and low pay. Finally, we explore the attitudes of young adults to their situation. We found that they were surprisingly undismayed by these labour market vicissitudes: many of them displayed a ‘structure of feeling’ we refer to as ‘internalized flexibility’, which helps them to maintain optimism and anticipate change in a challenging economic environment.
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship