New Arrivals, New Opportunities: Tailoring Labor Market Policies to New Challenges in Sweden

9 December 2018

Sweden’s active labour market policies, an important pillar in its economic model, are being challenged by the evolving skills landscape and changing migration patterns. This report explores workforce changes and suggests steps for government and organisations to adapt.

One of the pillars of Sweden’s economic model is active labour market policies that aim to upgrade the skills of unemployed workers, enhancing their labour market prospects while also improving the possibilities for productive companies to recruit. Although this approach has contributed to Sweden’s high living standards and productivity, the country is currently grappling with the integration of a large influx of asylum seekers and refugees, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. While Sweden has historically relied on migration to meet labour demands, the evolving skills landscape and changing migration patterns present new challenges that require innovative solutions.

The report discusses the implications of this changing workforce composition and the government’s efforts to adapt its training, education, and labour market schemes to meet the needs of newly arrived refugees. It notes that while migrants– even those with limited formal education – are finding employment opportunities in Sweden, there is a significant gender gap in employment that needs to be addressed. It proposes concrete ways in which municipalities, the Public Employment Service (PES), and the government can address these challenges.

This report was featured as a chapter in “People on the Move: Advancing the Discourse on Migration & Jobs“- a joint report co-authored by the global partners of JustJobs Network.