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Swedish industries have difficulty recruiting skilled workers

Staff Writer | August 13, 2016
The construction and engineering industries are booming in Sweden, but few young people are choosing careers within these sectors.
Sweden workers
Jobs in Sweden   The lack of skilled and experienced workers
The lack of skilled workers in Sweden means many employers are turning abroad to hire foreigners instead, for instance from Romania, reports Swedish Television.

Even so, the need for workers is currently not being met, a situation which could hamper the country's economic growth, according to Sweden's National Employment Agency.

Young people who choose vocational programs at the higher secondary education level often end up being offered jobs straight after school since many companies are hiring right now. However, the number of skilled workers, such as carpenters, concrete layers, masons and construction-machine operators, are few and far between.

Companies within the construction and engineering industries are competing over the available workers.

"I could hire five white-collar workers and five to 10 skilled workers today," Jens Hoffman, CEO at a construction company based in the Swedish capital Stockholm, told Swedish television. Hoffman's company currently has 120 employees.

The number of secondary-education pupils enrolled in vocational programs has dropped by 30 percent in the past five years, from nearly 40,000 to just 28,000 pupils. Ahead of this fall term, some programs around Sweden have received no applicants at all.

At the same time, the Swedish Employment Agency says the worker shortage could harm the country's economic growth.

The situation is mirrored across other professions, such as bus and truck repairs, where jobs are also going to foreign workers.

"Since 2010, I have turned towards Romania from where we have now recruited six people to Stockholm and 15 to the rest of the country," said Jorgen West who is head of trade at a company that repairs buses and trucks.