Structural trends not directly related to labour market functioning and redistribution have made a sizeable contribution to inequality and poverty in Sweden, but occupy only limited space in the income inequality debate.
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The national unemployment rate in Sweden has fallen to less than 7%, but this aggregate number hides important regional disparities which are partly due to inadequate or mismatched skills. To reduce these imbalances, Sweden needs to enhance the engagement of employers at the local level, strengthen regional skills planning, and inject more flexibility in the management of employment and skills policies.
This report is part of the series on "Investing in Youth" which builds on the expertise of the OECD on youth employment, social support and skills. This series covers both OECD countries and countries in the process of accession to the OECD, as well as some emerging economies. The report provides a detailed diagnosis of youth policies in the area of education, training, social and employment policies. Its main focus is on disadvantaged youth including those at risk of disengaging.
The costs of a persistent misalignment between the supply and demand for skills are substantial, ranging from lost wages for workers to lower productivity for firms and countries. Addressing skills imbalances has become even more of a concern as OECD governments reflect on the implications of technological progress, digitisation, demographic change and globalisation for jobs and work organisation. In light of these challenges, OECD has undertaken new research to shed light on how countries measure changing skill needs while ensuring that employment, training and migration institutions are responsive to the emergence of new skill requirements. The Getting Skills Right in Sweden review offers an in-depth analysis of the key areas where policy action is required to spur the development of an efficient system for skills assessment and anticipation to inform policy in the country. The report provides an assessment of practices in the following areas: i) the collection of information on existing and future skill needs; ii) the use of skill needs information to guide policy development in the areas of labour, education and migration; and iii) the existence of effective governance arrangements to ensure good co-ordination among the key stakeholders in the collection and use of skill needs information.
The Swedish Government, the ILO and the OECD cannot do it alone. I encourage you to throw your support behind this Global Deal and make concrete commitments, so that together, we can build the collaborative, innovative, dynamic societies in which everyone can thrive.
Sweden should address housing shortages, begin integration activities early, and improve the support for those with low skills to speed up the effective integration of refugees, according to a new OECD report.
This review is the first in a new series on the skills and labour market integration of immigrants and their children. With 16% of its population born abroad, Sweden has one of the larger immigrant populations among the European OECD countries. Estimates suggest that about half of the foreign-born population originally came to Sweden as refugees or as the family of refugees and Sweden has been the OECD country that has had by far the largest inflows of asylum seekers relative to its population. In all OECD countries, humanitarian migrants and their families face greater challenges to integrate into the labour market than other groups. It is thus not surprising that immigrant versus native-born differences are larger than elsewhere, which also must be seen in the context of high skills and labour market participation among the native-born. For both genders, employment disparities are particularly pronounced among the low-educated, among whom immigrants are heavily overrepresented. These immigrants face particular challenges related to the paucity of low-skilled jobs in Sweden, and policy needs to acknowledge that their integration pathway tends to be a long one. Against this backdrop, Sweden has highly developed and longstanding integration policies that mainly aim at upskilling immigrants while temporarily lowering the cost of hiring, while other tools that work more strongly with the social partners and the civil society are less well developed and need strengthening.
Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over their lifetime. Displaced workers may face long periods of unemployment and, even when they find new jobs, tend to be paid less and have fewer benefits than in their prior jobs. Helping them get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy. This report is the fourth in a series of reports looking at how this challenge is being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It shows that Sweden has been relatively successful in minimising the adverse effects of displaced workers, manily due to the longstanding tradition of collaboration between the social partners to share responsibility for restructuring by creating special arrangements and practices that provide help to workers much faster that in other OECD countries. Despite this positive institutional framework, there is room to improve policies targeted to displaced workers as remarkable inequalities still exist in both the Swedish labour market and in the way workers are treated.
Both educational attainment and skills, as measured in the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), are high in Sweden. They are not perfect substitutes, but both are to some degree necessary for successfully integrating in the Swedish labour market.
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Sweden’s level of income inequality is low by international standards but has steadily increased since the mid-1980s, faster than in any other OECD country. Reversing the increase in inequality requires a policy package built on three pillars.