A Comparative Study of Future Horizons and Value Shifts Among Young Finns in Higher Education
Since the economic crisis began in 2008, Finnish unemployment rates have stayed relatively high and a new phenomenon among young people with higher education qualifications is a growing level of unemployment (Akava 2015). Statistics show that unemployment has increased by roughly 15% among the highly educated in Finland, yet only by 9% among the Finnish population at large over the past year. This paper analyses how Finnish students in higher education see their future and transition from higher education to working life. The paper will present views of the two research programmes, WORK-Preca (2008-2012) and NuorI- IHCCS (2015-2016). The first data set from university students was gathered in 2011, and the second in 2015. The research questions examined were: 1) How do students in higher education experience and interpret their future prospects? And 2) What kind of attitudes do students have towards education and work and how these are influenced by parents, friends, and society? The results of the study are compared from the viewpoint of changing life-styles, values, and future orientations among young adults. The value shift of students in higher education extends with attitudes towards society, environment, politics, welfare, and life-style. The results support the research hypothesis that the values of young people in higher education reflect deeper economic and social changes in society's values (cf. Inglehart and Welzel, 2005). The results are also discussed in the broader context of Finnish society and in the frame of work transitions among young people as agents of socialization relating to expected patterns of work value preferences associated with education and work life in Finland.