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Therefore, there is a shortage of train drivers and butchers

Healthcare workers, wind power technicians, electricians, train drivers, butchers, social workers, sheet metal workers, bus drivers, battery manufacturers – the list of professions that are in dire shortage is long.

Why does it look like that, and what can be done about it? Here different actors give their view of the situation and what can be done about it.

Do more people want to become train drivers? Archive image.

Image: © Jörgen Ragnarson/Photographer

Swedish business

From the business world’s side, lack of skills is a big and widespread problem, according to Mia Bernhardsen, head of skills supply at Swedish Enterprise.

– There is a shortage in almost all industries. Four out of ten companies have to cancel planned expansions or turn down assignments due to a lack of people.

She states that Sweden cannot afford to have it like this.

The new, green industries being established in the north need lots of people. Archive image.

Photo: Simon Rehnström/SvD/TT

– It impairs competitiveness. The lack of competence means that Sweden cannot expand.

If one professional group cannot be reached, it can also affect others. If, for example, it is not possible to get hold of a cook, waiters or dishwashers are not needed either.



The question is why there is a shortage of so many professional groups.

Mia Bernhardsen points to the education system. There are far too few who choose practical vocational training, such as to become an electrician, baker or sheet metal worker. Instead, young people choose courses that are broad, where they can make their choice later.

– We need to go from 30 percent of a cohort starting a practical education to 40 percent completing one each year.

She thinks that vocational programs should be seen as both an opportunity for a job immediately and a chance for development later. They are no longer a dead end. She also thinks that adults should have the chance to train more in practical professions.

TT: But if there is a shortage, don’t employers have to tighten up and “fuss” with, for example, salary or working conditions to attract?

– The working conditions are what they are, we have the Swedish model on the labor market with unions and employers agreeing. But I thought that the companies are creative, they investigation in all channels, says Mia Bernhardsen.


Butchers and cutters have very positive opportunities to get a job, according to the Employment Agency. Archive image.

Image: Rickard Nilsson / Scanpix


Susanna Gideonsson, chairman of LO, sees several reasons why there is a shortage in many professions. The status of certain professions, for example. According to her, we do not value jobs such as sheet metal workers, electricians and the healthcare professions highly enough.

She also states that labor market training has been significantly reduced.

– A lot is needed. You don’t do what you need to do and then we get this miss-match.


But working conditions and pay are absolutely central. It is not possible to shrug your shoulders and say that pay and conditions are what they are, employers must attract people with better conditions so that they will want to work for them, she believes.


– It is up to each employer to create better conditions. But they don’t want to.

Then it will be as it will be, according to Susanna Gideonsson. Those who can apply for other professions where pay, conditions and status are better.

– For example, in certain occupations, where there are mostly women, full-time jobs are not always offered, nor are permanent employments offered. These are often insecure part-time jobs.

The wages are then not livable and in order to get up to a tolerable level, they need to hunt extra shifts, she explains.


In healthcare, there is a shortage in some areas. Archive image.

Image: Janerik Henriksson/TT

In some places in the expansive Norrland region, there is a sigh of relief that women in healthcare leave the profession and instead take better-paid jobs in industry.

– I think it’s healthy. Why shouldn’t they take a permanent full-time position with 15,000 more in salary, says Susanna Gideonsson.


Professor Oskar Nordström Skans

Oskar Nordström Skans, professor of economics at Uppsala University, thinks it is problematic to talk about a “shortage” of labour. In any case, there the “lack” has existed for a long time.

– Then the employers do not offer sufficiently attractive conditions, he says.

Referring to the Swedish model where unions and employers agree on wages and conditions, as Svenskt Näringsliv does, does not hold, he thinks.


– If there is a shortage of, for example, butchers for decades, then employers may have to pay more. If they don’t want it, is it a shortage? People choose professions based on what is offered.

In some cases, for example when more police officers are to be hired, there may be a shortage during a transition period when new police officers are to be trained, he notes. And of course it can be difficult in the public sector, where resources are limited, to raise wages and improve conditions.


But the labor market is also a kind of market, where imbalances are corrected by a price, he says.

– In general, we tend to think that market mechanisms are positive.

Employers who action a labor shortage also need to be creative, according to Oskar Nordström Skans. Maybe think in new ways when it comes to how the job is organised, what training requirements should be set and whether internal training is possible.

– Politicians can also help to remedy shortcomings, by designing education according to workforce needs, such as the University of Applied Sciences. It is an important task. But this can never replace the employer’s responsibility to design work, pay and conditions.


The employment agency

Arbetsförmedlingen does not make any forecasts of its own for the exact shortage, says Alva Johansson, labor market analyst at Arbetsförmedlingen. The occupational forecasts from Arbetsförmedlingen instead describe how the prospects are for jobs.

On the Employment Agency’s website, there are forecasts for roughly 170 occupations in 20 areas.

There, for example, you can learn that there are very positive opportunities for work if you want to become a butcher or butcher, as well as for those who want to become bus or tram drivers. nonetheless, there is considered to be little demand for professions such as bank clerks, investigators and qualified administrators.


– We don’t talk about shortcomings, we see them as opportunities for work, says Johansson.


Facts: Occupational forecasts

The employment service’s occupational forecasts show opportunities for jobs partly now in 2023, partly in three years. For example, the job opportunities are very large both now and in the future for plumbing fitters, butchers and cutters, biomedical analysts, environmental and health protection inspectors, system analysts and IT architects, occupational therapists, midwives, specialist doctors and nurses.

In its Workforce Barometer, Statistics Norway (SCB) gives examples of educations where demand is high:

– teachers and pedagogues in certain specializations, especially vocational teachers

– vocationally trained in several fields.

– some civil and university engineers

– trained programmers and systems scientists

– medical secretaries, otherwise positive or balanced access to social science educations.

– natural sciences, agriculture and forestry and animal health care

Source: Arbetsförmedlingen, Statistics Sweden


Facts: Unemployment in June 2023

Unemployment rate: 6.2 percent

Youth unemployment rate: 7.4 percent

Registered unemployed: 322,000 people

Registered unemployed youth: 37,000 people

5,400 people were notified of redundancy

Source: Arbetsförmedlingen

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