Volvo eyes jobs boost in Sweden, but cuts in US

Sweden's Volvo Group, the world's second-biggest truck maker, announced on Tuesday that it is planning to boost its workforce in Gothenburg by another 400-500 people, thanks to an unexpected rise in profits.

Volvo eyes jobs boost in Sweden, but cuts in US
Martin Lundstedt at Volvo Group's factory on a previous occasion. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Volvo Group revealed an operating income of 6.1 billion kronor ($712 million) in the second quarter of 2016, several million more than analysts had predicted ahead of Tuesday.

However, sales decreased to 78.9 billion kronor, down from 84.8 billion the previous year.

“In the second quarter we were able to continue the improvement of our underlying profitability despite declining sales, thanks to positive cost development. Sales decreased by seven percent to 78.9 billion kronor. Despite this, the underlying operating income increased to 6.1 billion kronor, corresponding to an operating margin of 7.8 percent,” Volvo Group's president and CEO, Martin Lundstedt, said in a statement.

Volvo is at the end of a three-year restructuring programme aimed to cut costs and boost profits, to offset slumping demand in the US by focusing on a growing European market.

Lundstedt said that the company now needed to employ some 400-500 new workers at its truck factory in Gothenburg on Sweden's west coast.

However, he added it would meanwhile cut staff in North America by around 300.

“We need to adjust the number of employees to get a better balance between production levels, inventory levels and demand,” Lundstedt told Swedish newswire TT on Tuesday.

Volvo Group, which is separate from Volvo Cars Corporation, currently employs 97,290 people worldwide, down from 104,324 in June last year.

For members


Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”