Abstract: The European and Portuguese labour markets have undergone significant changes in recent years. The high rates of unemployment have been accompanied by precarious employment – a phenomenon that is affecting younger people most. This article analyses how the future employment prospects of young people with few qualifications and/or on low pay are both represented and projected. By means of a content analysis of 80 interviews with young working people in Portugal, two forms of projecting their professional future were defined: the cumulative and the noncumulative projections. Within the latter category, three subtypes were identified: those of contingency, immobility and rupture. These categories are systematically explained, taking into account the notion of time as a sociological variable.