This prospective study aimed at examining if work with prolonged arm elevation predicts shoulder pain among 41 young adults in their first years of working life. Fifteen hairdressers, 15 electricians, 5 students and 6 with various work were followed over a 2.5-year period (2006/7–2009). Arm elevation was measured with inclinometers during a full working day at baseline. Shoulder pain was reported at baseline and twice in the follow-up period. Data were analyzed by generalized estimating equations (GEE-analysis), stratified by gender and adjusted for time, mechanical workload, work demand, physical activity, tobacco use and prior shoulder pain. Work with prolonged arm elevation with angles >60° and >90° were associated with shoulder pain among women. Even though the shoulder pain levels are low the study suggests work with arms elevated as an early work-related risk factor among women, and indicates the importance of early prevention strategies.