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Harder to match available jobs with applicants

Updated lördag 26 december 2015 kl 15.13
Published lördag 26 december 2015 kl 11.33
"You can't just lower the lowest wages"
(2:39 min)
Åsa Olli Segendorf och Tord Strannefors. Foto: Anders Jelmin/Sveriges Radio.
Åsa Olli Segendorf och Tord Strannefors. Foto: Anders Jelmin/Sveriges Radio.

With the arrival of many refugees in Sweden in recent months, the challenge in finding jobs for those born abroad is expected to increase during 2016.

While unemployment is declining and the number of jobs increasing, Swedish Radio News reports that there’s a growing gap between the working and the unemployed. Åsa Olli Segendorf is head of the division for Labor Market and Price Analysis at the National Institute of Economic Research:

“With so many arriving here who lack desired qualifications, the situation will get worse,” she tells Swedish Radio News.

The problem she says, is poor matching between the available jobs and the labor force available to fill them.

During 2016 and 2017 the Public Employment Service expects that 140,000 new jobs will be created here, mostly in the service sector. At the same time, many people who have moved to Sweden will be entering the labor market, depending on the length of the asylum application process.

Tord Strannefors, director of forecasting at the employment service, agrees that the labor market challenges will be great, and growing.

“But you have to also consider that the foreign borns will be the only change in the active population, since the number of people born here is declining,” he tells Swedish Radio News. “The foreign borns will represent the entire increase in the work force, and a major portion of the increase in employment.”

He says the need for trained labor will increase, especially in the construction industry and the healthcare sector.

“So we may have the paradox that despite the situation, we will still need labor immigration,” he says.

While some employers and politicians suggest that one way to deal with the situation is for new arrivals to compete by paying them lower wages, Åsa Olli Segendorf of the National Institute of Economic Research says that could only help a few:

“People who lack education need other action,” she says. “You can’t just lower the lowest wages to the degree that would be needed for them to find work.”

Tord Strannefors of the public employment service says the hardest challenge will be finding jobs for those completely lacking education.

“For the 55,000 people without primary school education, there’s not much we can do,” he says. “That’s the unhappy truth, because those jobs don’t exist.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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