This article investigates how globalization has impacted on labour market inequalities in modern, OECD-type societies. To this end, it collates findings from three cross-nationally comparative research projects that had all focused on the consequences of globalization and flexibilization for individual life courses (Globalife; TransEurope, flexcareer). Results indicate that there is a clear increase of labor market risks in the globalization process. However, this increase of risks has been not distributed equally among social groups, but has reinforced existing inequalities between as well as within birth cohorts. Particularly youth and women disproportionately find themselves ‘at the margins’ of globalized labour markets. Furthermore, globalization has impacted social classes and social inequality very differently, with most detrimental effects for those with low occupational class and little educational attainment. Despite the universality of these trends across countries, it can be shown that emerging inequalities are significantly ‘filtered’ by nation-specific institutions such as welfare systems and national labour markets. The article ends with a consideration of most recent trends in life course transitions and identifies open questions for further research.
Keywords: Globalization, life course, institutional filters, social inequality, crossnational comparison, youth