Swedish jobs agency can’t fill own vacancies

Swedish jobs agency can't fill own vacancies
Sweden's public employment agency, tasked with helping unemployed Swedes find work, has been forced to hire a staffing agency to fill vacancies on its own staff.

In a recently inked deal, the state-run Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) has turned to the Proffice staffing agency, which will help the agency recruit people to fill openings for recruiters, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported.

According to the deal for “recruitment services”, Proffice will be paid 24,000 kronor ($3,640) by the agency per recruitment, including interviewing and checking references.

Annette Ekström of the Public Employment Service told DN that her agency needs to recruit between 700 and 800 people per year.

While it remains unclear how many of the openings will is expected to help fill, Ekström didn’t think there was anything odd about Sweden’s employment agency hiring a staffing service to help them find workers.

“We are devoted to helping jobseekers find work. That’s what we’re best at. Employment officers have substantial training. When we recruit our staff, we use our human resources department or a staffing company,” she told the paper.

Last year, the Sweden’s six largest staffing agencies billed the Public Employment Service 38 million kronor, according to DN.

However, news that the state-run agency needed outside help to meet its ongoing recruitment challenge left some from experts scratching their heads.

“It’s sort of funny and says a lot about the agency. It reflects low self-confidence,” Stefan Fölster, head economist with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) told DN.

Rune Premfors, a political scientist at Stockholm University and expert on public administration said the practice “raised eyebrows”.

“What’s surprising is that this is an agency that is supposed to have a lot of competence – that’s a paradox,” he told the newspaper.

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