Self-Employment Experiences of Young Graduates: New Forms of Professional (in)Dependence


  • Ana Paula Marques University of Minho/Portugal



Higher Education; Graduates; Self-employment; (In)dependence and Insecurity


In recent decades, self-employment has been considered a central issue regarding labour market opportunities and individual choices. However, self-employment experiences of young graduates reveal increasing insecurity that characterises the precariousness of current labour relations. In this paper, we intend to reflect critically on the concepts of self-employment, entrepreneurship/creation of businesses, taking into account the main arguments arising from the crisis of employment regulations. This paper aims to support in some research evidence based on an extensive survey applied in two public universities in Portugal (N 1004). Our focus will be on personal profiles of self-employed graduates, as well as the "oppositions" which structure their professional relations of independence/ dependence. In this regard, it is suggested that we are witnessing a reconfiguration of the professional patterns of transition from higher education into the labour market which integrate traits of individualisation and autonomy as well as uncertainty and vulnerability. However, for a comprehensive approach to the self-employment thematic, additional research is still needed in order to shed further light on the understanding of the labour market as one of the main facets of social and socio-economic insecurity and risks in contemporary European societies.