Widespread lack of skills in Sweden could be solved by expats

Widespread lack of skills in Sweden could be solved by expats

There is a crisis in labour markets. The lack of skills is becoming widespread, according to Svenskt Näringsliv (Swedish Enterprise). Currently, one in four recruitment attempt fail, worse even than the result in 2015, where one in every five recruitments failed. Companies have, in the past six months, tried to recruit 7.5 employees but only managed to recruit 5.5. 72 percent of active recruiters said that it was quite or very difficult to recruit employees, an increase of 16 percentage points since 2015. There is a lack of competence in the entire business sector.

One obvious solution to the deficit in labour is to bring in expats. Sweden has not done badly in attracting foreigners to work here. In fact, Sweden has as many expats per capita as the USA, appealing to those attracted to its tradition of social causes, the tech industry and to partners of Swedes.

However, there are a number of negative factors that may limit expat numbers from growing much beyond today’s levels. Issues already identified in the media include severe challenges finding accommodation in the main cities, strong tax disadvantages compared with leading centres for expats, such as Singapore, US, China and visa problems. Our analysis also identifies other factors, such as the high cost of living relative to local salaries and the challenge of making friends with Swedes. Many expats also identified high barriers to finding the right job as a reason not to stay. Swedish decision makers will need to address cultural challenges if they want to breakthrough to new solutions.

Download a copy of the full analysis and recommendations on where barriers can be torn down in the State of Expat Life in Sweden report.

About the report

Mundus International, a provider of news, analysis and insight into Swedish current affairs to the foreign community in Sweden, New in Sweden (NiDS)  an expat membership and support service, and Swedish language course provider, Swedish for Professionals, collaborated to uncover the true picture of life for expats in Sweden.