‘Punctual’ young Swedes attract EU employers

'Punctual' young Swedes attract EU employers
Young Swedes on the Umeå University campus. File photo: Johan Gunseus/TT
Sweden's youthful labour force has been praised by the European Employment Service for being "loyal" and "punctual" after it emerged young Swedes are among the biggest beneficiaries of a continental job scheme.

Figures released by Eures (European Employment Service), which promotes free movement of workers across the continent, revealed that Sweden only trails France when it comes to how many young people find work through the scheme. 

They estimate that 3,700 young Swedes have found work abroad with roughly 500 other Europeans moving the other way to Sweden via Eures in 2013.

Young Swedes have come in for praise for their willingness to travel overseas and find work.

"Swedes are popular with European employers. They are loyal, punctual, well-informed and learn fast. Young Swedes are more likely than young people in many other countries to go abroad to gain experience," Jeanette Mauritzon, Eures advisor in southern Sweden, told the Kristianstadsbladet newspaper this week.

Unemployment remains a problem in Sweden for young people. Figures released by Statistics Sweden (SCB) in November revealed that the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 – 24 was 18.9 percent, which equals 121,000 young people without a job.

In total, there are 374,000 people unemployed in Sweden – 7.3 percent of the workforce.

Eures is partnered with the Swedish Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) and coordinates with the European Commission with the goal of speeding up the process for European workers finding work across the union.

While many young Swedes are glad to move to a European neighbour, not all are as keen. In October The Local reported that young Swedes had snubbed a German apprentice scheme which required them to have some knowledge of the German language.

The language requirement was subsequently scrapped in exchange for lessons incorporated as part of the scheme.

"I don't think everybody is really ready to start a new life in another country. Perhaps you will have periods of loneliness and longing for home, your friends and family. You have to prepare yourself mentally," Mauritzon added.

Eures was founded in 1994 and has special programmes for job seeking youths such as "Your first job – Eures" aimed at those aged between 18 and 30. A workshop on securing your first Eures job was recently held in Kristianstad, southern Sweden, with the intention of encouraging more Swedes to take the plunge and go abroad.

However, it's not just young Swedes who are benefiting from Eures. A Dutch bank manager, who lost his job of 30 years in Amsterdam, moved to rural Sweden to set up his own domestic services company.

“Eures and others also guided us on dealing with more complex paperwork. We discovered for example that Sweden requires firms like ours to have a special registration number, which allows all clients to be reimbursed 50 percent of the cost of using our services," he told the Eures website.

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