Worker shortage in three quarters of Swedish professions: Public Employment Agency

There is continued high pressure on the Swedish job market, with a shortage of workers in three quarters of sectors, according to the Swedish Public Employment Service.

Worker shortage in three quarters of Swedish professions: Public Employment Agency
Nursing is one of the professions with the greatest shortage of workers. Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

Employers in both the private and public sector are struggling to recruit staff.

“It's an incredibly large shortage. There's a shortage in three quarters of the 200 occupations that we assess,” said Annelie Almérus, an analyst at the agency.

What characterizes the current situation is that there is a widespread shortage of trained workers in many sectors rather than just specific areas or those which require a long period of training. There has been a shortage of doctors and nurses in Sweden for a long time, for example, but over the last few years the shortage has increased strikingly for jobs that need an upper secondary qualification.

“The labour market has now been very good for a long time, and the number of people with upper secondary education who are unemployed has fallen a lot. The ones remaining are those who have had only a short training period,” Almérus said.

Another consequence of the shortage is that it takes employers a longer time to recruit staff. Some employers, particularly those in the public sector, have therefore begun relaxing requirements on experience.

This means there are increased opportunities for many people, and it is becoming easier for people who early on in their careers or newly qualified to find a job.

The sectors with the greatest shortage vary slightly from region to region. In Stockholm county, the three professions most in need of workers are civil engineers, mechanical machinery assemblers, and trained nurses.

In Skåne, civil engineers still have the highest chance of finding work, with electricians and preschool teachers the next most in demand. 

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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.”