While the Swedish economy is healthy and it is often depicted as a 'welfare state', the country struggles to keep up with its labour market demand. Its high labour market stress levels are characterised by a skills mismatch, with more employers searching for highly skilled workers. Foreign professionals often face bureaucratic challenges when considering Sweden as a destination, and there is much political debate about improving the situation for international workers. This article outlines some of the inner workings of the Swedish talent market and how to tap into these pools.
The market at a glance
Size of workforce
Those who work for pay or profit for at least one hour a week, or who have a job but are temporarily not at work due to illness, leave or industrial action
The ratio of the employed to the working age
% of population (25-44 yrs old) with tertiary graduation rates
Cost of labour
English proficiency index (world)
The world's largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills
English proficiency index (Europe)
Europe's largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills
Finding the right talent
The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) is a great place to start looking for talent, as well as employment agencies like Adecco, Academic Work and Manpower. Metrojobb.se is a common job board used in Sweden, and publishing jobs on Sweden’s English news site The Local is another popular medium to attract talent.
Things to keep in mind
There is a strong history of labour unions in Sweden and union membership is high - around 70% of the working population belong to a union. These unions regulate much of the labour market through agreements, also known as kollektivavtal, such as wages, vacation days and insurance. It is common for prospective job seekers to check if a company belongs to a kollektivavtal, especially because Sweden does not enforce a minimum wage, so one should consider this when looking for local talent.