Labour market information

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Sweden - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


Sweden has just over 10 million inhabitants and the population is expected to increase by around 1% over the next few years and estimated to exceed 11 million in 2026. Almost 1.8 million people, corresponding to 18% of Sweden’s population, were born abroad. The number of people in the workforce has risen considerably in recent years and is expected to continue increasing in the next few years. People born abroad account for the whole expansion of the workforce. In 2017, unemployment amongst 15-74 year-olds was on average 6.7%. It has fallen since spring 2015 and is expected to continue to fall in 2018. In 2019, only minor changes in unemployment are expected as a result of continued strong additional labour supply in groups which are initially further away from the labour market.

In 2017, the number of people in employment (15-74 year-olds) on the Swedish labour market increased by 112 000, corresponding to 1.7%. Employment increased in both the private and the public services sector and in the construction sector, whilst it fell in industry. In 2018 and 2019, employment is estimated to continue to grow. Sweden has the highest employment rate of all EU Member States, and it is estimated that it will continue to grow among both those born in Sweden and those born abroad. 

The number of vacancies notified to the Swedish Public Employment Service (PES) is at a high level, which is an indication that many employers still have significant recruitment needs. Knowledge requirements are high on the Swedish labour market and have increased over time. For applicants without any form of upper-secondary education, the chances of finding a job are poor. There is a strong, long-term upward trend in employment in occupations at tertiary education level. In the next few years, there are also expected to be additional jobs in occupations at secondary education level. Competition for certain jobs at this level will continue to be tough, as jobseekers with tertiary-level education are also applying for these jobs.

Demand for labour is expected to remain high. This will lead to a gradually declining supply of skilled labour in more and more occupations. The output from the educational system will not meet the overall demand for labour. Many new jobs will arise in occupations at upper-secondary school level, but also in occupations that require tertiary education. As a minimum, recruiters usually require job applicants to have completed upper-secondary school education. There are very few jobs on the Swedish labour market that require only very low or no formal education.


Text last edited on: 11/2018

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