New business talent can be found in Stockholm’s suburbs

Maria Lindberg Howard 7 December 2016

A recent report from Arbetsförmedlingen (Sweden’s Public Employment Agency) shows that, in principle, there is full employment among those born in the Stockholm region. However, unemployment among people with a foreign background remains high, and many have difficulty in entering the labor market.

Staffing company MultiMind focuses on diversity and recently held a breakfast seminar to highlight the efforts being made in Stockholm, and to discuss various solutions.  

 “In the Stockholm region companies are in need of manpower and our order books are full. Since there is exclusion in our suburbs and failure to integrate, many are not included in the selection process,” says Kristian Andersson, CEO at MultiMind.

The Stockholm suburb of Husby has 12,000 inhabitants, of which 86 percent come from a foreign background. At the Husbygårdsskolan school, many of the students were born in Sweden to parents coming from abroad. Like in all the other suburbs, Husby has many students with big dreams for the future. They are prepared to work hard but very few have the necessary contacts in the business community to be able to make a career in professional life.

“Young people in the suburbs have the same capacity and motivation as young people in the inner city,” says Magnus Duvnäs, principal at Husbygårdsskolan.

There is a broad collaboration between several of the various initiatives implemented outside the school, but there is a need for better coordination of activities.

“Our school does not have the best grades but many students at Husbygårdsskolan do their best and want to continue to study at the university level," say students Samar Matini and Banaz Hussain.

At the same time, there are great social efforts to overcome exclusion, but they require better coordination. But also, individuals can make a big difference by serving as role models. Being a mentor to students and sharing their contacts and supporting “Stiftelsen Läxhjälpen” (homework foundation) are some good examples.

 “The school should be the main focus, it acts as an extra parent for students and is one of the main tools for integration,” says Sven Hagströmer, entrepreneur and mentor.

The “Vision 2040 – A Stockholm for Everyone” program works with the city politicians to open a school in each municipality to create meeting places that facilitate networking. Summer jobs is another initiative that strengthens the link between young people and the business community with the goal of finding summer jobs for all high school students.  

“We need to see the individual and prepare them for working life, both during their school years as well as adult study programs,” says Emilia Bjuggren, Vice Mayor of Labor Market and Sports for the Social democrats, Stockholm.

Swedish Television’s mission is to reflect and portray society all over the country and that also applies internally. There are hundreds of professions, and Swedish Television is constantly looking for new talent. There are several diversity coaches and networking, speed interviewing, and social media is also used to broaden the base for recruitment.

“We need to reach more audiences and must articulate ourselves better in our job listings to be more accessible,” says Helène Sahlin, HR Director at Swedish Television.

In recent decades, schools have changed regarding increased competition and higher grade criteria. Many students find it to be a great challenge, but Benaz Hussain and Samer Matini say that everyone always must try to do their best. If you find no role models you must depend on yourself to be a role model for others:

“We are the new workforce!”