In late May, MultiMind held one of their popular breakfast seminars. The topic this time was, “Sweden’s future labor market – trends, talks, ideas”, which attracted many visitors to the Hotel Scandic Anglais.
Kristian Andersson of MultiMind began by stating that “Sweden is different today and will be even more different tomorrow”. This places great demands on a more efficient and flexible labor market that affirms diversity.
The seminar began with a look into the future, where Göran Krafft of the research company, Kairos Future, said that 60 percent of today’s youth want to live in communities featuring diversity. A full 53 percent are more likely to apply for jobs working with diversity. In a recent survey, 63 percent of the surveyed executives said that diversity must be taken into account in all new recruiting. It broadens skills and helps companies to understand new markets in a globalized world.
The panel discussion was also attended by Shori Zand, CEO of Avesina, Elisabeth Svantesson, parliamentary politician (M) and the former Minister of Labor and Tina Karlberg, City Account Manager at Siemens. They all gave their views on the challenges facing the labor market and what needs to be done.
“Language teaching for immigrants must improve, and politicians must develop a well thought out plan of how refugees should be received in the best possible way. Managers in health care must revise their worldview, we are lacking 3,500 general practition doctors. Talented staff should not have to work in long-term temporary positions, they should be permanently employed,” says Shori Zand.
There needs to be closer cooperation between employers and the labor and immigration offices. This would lead to sought-after skills in the private and public sectors being matched more swiftly with newly arrived people and their work experience.
“It is important to have a sensible introduction and those highly educated must be integrated more quickly into the labor market. Immigrants who are poorly educated should receive help so that they become employable. The SFI (Swedish For Immigrants) program must become more flexible so that it is also possible to study Swedish in evening hours or remotely,” says Elisabeth Svantesson.
To divide newcomers into different groups is inefficient, all immigration must be regarded as work force. Political policies have often been passive and over nurturing, instead people should be given tools. The Stockholm University project, “Korta vägen”, a short cut that helps foreign academics enter the labor market faster is one example of an initiative that works.
“The core values of many companies don’t speak against diversity, but what they really need to do is to live up to those values. At Siemens, we have introduced the concept ‘15 minutes of your time’ where one quarter of the meeting time is used to highlight a prejudiced statement and discuss it,” says Tina Karlberg.
The panel discussion ended with the participants making several suggestions for action:
- Employers must see what skills actually exist.
- Remove the blinders and rigid thinking on the labor market.
- Let more job seekers interview for the position.
- Simplify legislation and make systems more flexible.
- Learn from other countries that have succeeded better in different areas.