• Sweden edition
 
Recruitment woes plague Swedish military

Recruitment woes plague Swedish military

Published: 17 Jan 2011 11:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2011 11:23 GMT+01:00

At the start of the New Year, the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) was still 3,000 recruits short of staffing goals for Sweden's new mission-based military, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported on Monday.

A consequence of the shortfall may be that career soldiers will be forced to make more frequent tours of duty abroad.

After mandatory conscription was abandoned last summer, the military set up a new organisation tasked with recruiting 16,000 voluntary soldiers by 2014.

Defence minister Sten Tolgfors promised at the time the creation of a "new mission-based organisation of 50,000 people immediately available if the entire country is threatened."

But so far, the Armed Forces is way behind on its recruitment goals, with only 2,400 soldiers and sailors of the planned 5,300 having joined the military by the end of 2010.

Last week, the Armed Forces signed an agreement with Sweden's National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) to help the military meet its goal of hiring between 4,000 and 6,000 new soldiers every year.

Part of the agreement calls for representatives from the Armed Forces to train jobs agency staff to ensure that the latter can provide an accurate picture of the jobs available and the Armed Forces as an employer.

The manpower shortage could be as high as 5,000 soldiers within two years, according to SvD.

The largest recruitment gaps exist among contracted soldiers who could be called up on an as-needed basis. So far, the Swedish military has yet to fill even one of the 9,200 spots set aside for contracted soldiers and sailors.

Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson admitted that the Armed Forces' recruitment plan is behind schedule, but says part of the reason is that legal regulations and collective bargaining arrangements have yet to be completed.

Nevertheless, Göransson believes that the recruitment growth rate is sufficient for Sweden's current ambitions.

However, economist Ulf Jonsson with the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut – FOI) warned that a consequence of the low recruitment figures could be that career soldiers will be sent abroad more often.

"Either you have fewer people to participate in the same number of missions or you cut down on the number of missions," he told The Local.

Jonsson, who last autumn published a report warning that the Swedish Armed Forces had underestimated the recruiting costs involved in shifting from a conscripted to a voluntary force, said he wasn't surprised that Sweden was having trouble meeting its recruitment goals.

"It's not uncommon that recruitment problems crop up during this kind of transition," he said.

"But the longer the negative spiral (of low recruitment numbers) continues, the harder it becomes to break the trend."

The Social Democratic chair of the Riksdag’s Committee on Defence, Håkan Juholt, criticised the Armed Forces for focusing on filling full-time contracts, against the Riksdag’s wishes.

“The Riksdag has time and again said that it is those on temporary active duty which are most important and the largest group of personnel. But instead the Armed Forces has put its entire focus on permanent employees,” Juholt told SvD.

On his blog, defence minister Tolgfors downplayed the SvD report, calling it a “snapshot” of an ongoing process of transition which won’t be complete until 2014.

“As previously states, the final staffing balance in the mission-based organisation between full- and part-time employees won’t be finished until the year after,” Tolgfors wrote on his blog.

“The mission-based organisation will, however, be fully staffed during the entire transition period. At that time the mission-based organisation will include both combat-placed conscripts and the new categories of soldiers.”

According to Jonsson, it remains to be seen whether Sweden's approach toward building a voluntary, mission-based military will succeed, explaining the process is still in its early phases.

"It's only been six months. I'm not ready to say that the reform has failed," he said.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:53 January 17, 2011 by johnny1939
Surprise, surprise!!!!! Who in their right mind would join the swedish armed forces at this time.
13:31 January 17, 2011 by Tennessee Thunder
The reason is clear,there isn't enough computers so that each new toy soldier can surf porn when they want to.
14:49 January 17, 2011 by johnny1939
What kind of people are we going to get from The National Employment agency? They should do their recruiting in the schools and try to entise good people w/ education perks etc. also, they should guarantee that they would not be sent abroad. This is for the protection of Sweden only. Oh well guess I am dreaming.
14:57 January 17, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Why bother to join when Santa Claus will just come and steal your rifle anyway?
16:05 January 17, 2011 by hjoian
above...ho ho ho....
16:43 January 17, 2011 by sendia
Well now they may need a Swedish foreign legion.
17:18 January 17, 2011 by Åskar
Who in their right mind would join any armed force at any time?
18:17 January 17, 2011 by Nemesis
A suggestion.

Drop the language requirement and create english language units. The UK and Ireland have lots of unemployment. Problem sorted.
20:22 January 17, 2011 by Staffs
I suggest the 5% of the population that own 99% of the country go and fight for their land, regardless of which country it is.

I don't own any land, and most of the serving members probably own 50 sq mt of mortgaged land, what the hell are they fighting for again?
04:30 January 18, 2011 by Darwinder
Force all refugees into 3 years of mandatory military service where they will learn the langauge as well as customs while fighting there families in the middle east, perfect.
09:12 January 18, 2011 by engagebrain
re Darwinder

It might not be such a great idea to hand guns to some of the refugees.
12:06 January 18, 2011 by johnny1939
Darwinder, I agree with you. I would go a bit further and bar anyone not born in the country from joining the armed forces. Yes I know, we cannot discriminate but it would make it all to easy for people w/ evil intent and you do not know who they are before it might be to late.
04:06 January 23, 2011 by sotiris
coping from the article: "new mission-based organisation of 50,000 people immediately available if the entire country is threatened."

LOL! Sweden didnt even need an army during WWII when the whole world was going down, why is going to need one nowadays?
Today's headlines
Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Drivers in western Sweden were forced to jam on the brakes after a van shed its load of preserves and juices which led to major traffic problems. READ  

Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

Opinion
'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'
File photo: Shutterstock

'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'

There is a popular narrative that in Sweden people bite their tongues while in Denmark they speak their minds; political commentator Brian Esbensen debunks this, arguing that Danes simply find it easier to criticize others. READ  

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

After reports that wandering elks were scaring the public, police on the island of Frösön have decided not to open fire on the animals, but have urged locals to exercise caution instead. READ  

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation
Sweden's Minister of International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. File photo: TT

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation

Sweden has earmarked 48 million kronor ($7 million) of its development aid budget to a United Nations programme to tackle female genital mutilation. READ  

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis
Photo: TT

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt believes Israel is interested in negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas while Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has stood by his comment about the Israelis having a right to defend itself. READ  

New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
File photo: Systembolaget

New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries

Swedish micro-breweries have reacted with concern to new distribution regulations being imposed by the state controlled alcohol monopoly Systembolaget, which they fear may put them out of business. READ  

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up
Volvo hybrid bus. Photo: Volvo Buses

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB and Volvo Buses of Sweden have announced a joint project to develop a system for electric buses to recharge their batteries fast when at bus stops. READ  

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden
Photo: TT

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden

Swedish weather agency SMHI has issued its first ever warning for high temperatures with the many areas set to bask in plus 30C heat. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 

18 July

Starting over (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

" I’ve now been off the water for almost 14 days. At first I was totally gutted being forced into a rest period, I had Stockholm in my sights and apart from the pain and discomfort in my shoulder, spirits were high and I was starting to gain some momentum. The news hit me fairly hard and..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

699
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se