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Swedish skill shortages

Vocational training in Sweden

post 21.Mar.2010, 04:03 PM
Post #16
Joined: 17.Mar.2010

I was reading on the BBC website there is a shortage of midwives in the UK. This means that women who would prefer to give birth at home have to go to hospital.

Now I wouldn't want to be a midwife – it would put me off my lunch.

But for some potential immigrants such an idea would go from “That's something I haven't thought of.” to “I would like to do that.” to ”I'm now fully qualified to do that.” to “I have a job in a new country.”.

As previously mentioned on this thread – when there are skill shortages then barriers are so much easier to overcome. Although the problem with this is that I've been told that in the UK there is now a surplus of plumbers as so many people heard that a skills shortage was pushing up wages that too many people trained in it. But in the UK at least, you can still have the combination of high unemployment, available training and skill shortages.

I would like to thank everybody such as Streja and Puffin for their training suggestions and would be grateful for any more. But nobody has yet to mention skills shortages. Does anybody know of any specific Swedish skills shortages or know how you can find out?

"Hello Azrael, thank-you for coming to this career advice meeting. Now that your Swedish is adequate, have you selected from the list of the top 20 Swedish skill shortages that we provided you with what career you would like to receive training in?"
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skane refugee
post 21.Mar.2010, 08:06 PM
Post #17
Joined: 14.May.2008

The 'identify a skills shortage and train to address it' is a refreshingly proactive approach ... this is particularly effective if you can think a little ahead of the curve ... i.e. identify a critical skills bottleneck likely to arise a year or so in the future and train/get relevant experience in anticipation of near term job market demand ...

Your approach should work really well in any job market that is by and large 'meritocratic' (i.e. the candidate with the best skills and experience for the job usually gets the job even if previously unknown to the prospective employer) and I'm sure you'd build a rewarding career in most countries

Whether or not the Swedish job market is 'meritocratic' is sadly debatable ... even rabidly Swedophile posters on TL discuss have conceded that the job market is more of a 'contactocracy' (if that's even a word! ;o) ) here, and that (counter-intuitively) there is a well disguised but very powerful class system at work in Sweden ...

You hear time and again posters on TL discuss saying that despite speaking decent Swedish they have been passed over for jobs in favour of far less qualified and competent candidates, in many cases completely unqualified candidates who the employer then presumably invests in via internal and external training

Among Swedish business clients of mine I've seen that decent jobs have been allocated to candidates whose family or social circle are known to the employer and can do a favour in return (maybe to arrange employment of a family member or friend of the employer in another organisation, introduce new clients for the employers business, or even things as seemingly trivial as accelerating membership of an exclusive golf club or securing mooring for a boat etc etc)

In many cases the implicit heavy assumption seems to be that more or less any candidate can do the job given enough time and training post employment, therefore it doesn't really matter who they choose initially (providing that the candidate can fit in socially and culturally with the employer and existing employees with minimum risk)

Another issue is that once you have a full time job in Sweden, you quickly get a lot of power as an employee ... it is very straightforward to get a doctor to sign you off work for several weeks if you are 'stressed' for example, and employers know it ... they therefore understandably prefer to have some way of getting additional indirect leverage over new employees via the family or social circle that the employees were introduced through

[As an aside, IMHO this is one of the reasons why you get such dramatic price variations in property between areas in Sweden that are otherwise rather close geographically and whose schools seem on paper to have similar standards ...
... connected families flock together to ensure that their children grow up with the 'right' network ... since in Swedens job market this will (sadly :-( ) usually trump academic qualifications and experience ... therefore property prices are bid up dramatically in some areas and stagnate elsewhere for reasons by no means obvious to the new expat]

Having said all that Sweden is a strange place and expats do sometimes get lucky despite the odds ... persistence, a positive attitude and active network building can work wonders!

Wish you the best of luck!
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post 21.Mar.2010, 08:22 PM
Post #18
Joined: 24.Mar.2008

employing friends or family members rather than total strangers is a common practice all around the world, and probably more so in 'southern' countries. It might be a lazy habit, but that's just the way it is.
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skane refugee
post 21.Mar.2010, 08:39 PM
Post #19
Joined: 14.May.2008

Agree with that observation superturbo!

Though would note that many other cultures seem to recognise (to a greater extent) the existence of, and value of, differing abilities and aptitudes for various jobs, and therefore, at a certain point (skills gap) will feel compelled to go for the well qualified stranger instead of the underqualified friend/family member

Swedish employers do seem to have unusual faith in their ability to train almost anyone (well ... any lagom Swede perhaps ;o) ) to do almost any job however, and the reason I posted was that I think the OP should at least be vaguely aware of this factor if they were assuming that just because they are the only candidate with a given skill set on the market that they would automatically get hired ... IMHO even if the OP correctly identifies a good skills gap area, they might find unexpected and frustrating competition from unskilled but well connected candidates who employers prefer to hire and 'train-up' from scratch
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post 21.Mar.2010, 09:14 PM
Post #20
Joined: 17.Mar.2010

So Skane - would an immigrant be better off aiming for the skills that would lead to jobs in the public/gov. sector rather than the private sector?
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post 21.Mar.2010, 09:16 PM
Post #21
Location: Värmland
Joined: 6.Feb.2010

Seeing the post about there being a shortage of midwives in the Uk just makes me laugh. Having a shortage of unskilled labour is one thing, getting training for it is quite something else.

If you knew how these things were organised you would understand why.

There are three ways to train as a midwife in the UK, the first ( being the only way originally) is a conversion course for already qualified nurses which the employing hospital pay for in theory. With cut backs etc they refuse to re train anyone nowadays and this has been the case for years. If that particular employing hospital have no vacancies or foreseeable vacancies in the future due to retirement etc, they simply do not train any midwives.

The other way of training is to do a Direct Access course at University. About 12-15 years ago this kind of course came into existence and was widespread throughout the country. This meant that you did not have to train to be a nurse first taking 3 years then an 18 month conversion course. The Direct Access course gave you the qualification as a midwife after the 3 year course. You were not a general nurse, you were a midwife.

However, the places on at the university were dependent on supply and demand for the regional hospitals. Each hospital submitted the numbers of midwives it expected to need each year and therefore the places at university were solely dependent on these numbers. This of course leads to years where no midwives were being trained one year to 150 the next for example.

If the hospitals in the area miscalculated then this would of course lead to a deficit of trained midwives. The university did not just "train" a particular number each year.

A friend qualified as a midwife around 5 years ago and the 3 years she was there, there were 38 on her course in the first year, the following year the university had no midwifery students and in the 3rd year they trained only 19.

The Universities have a degree course for midwives but the number usually remains static at about 10 per year. These students receive a different qualification and are treated as normal university students and not professional students but do train together with the Direct Access diploma students.

If there is a shortgage this is merely the fault of the hospital administration system getting the predicted figures wrong. If no UK students are being trained in the first place then the hospitals have to look abroad to fill the gap. Ludicrous.

Just try applying for one of these courses and you come across the beauracracy.
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skane refugee
post 21.Mar.2010, 10:33 PM
Post #22
Joined: 14.May.2008

QUOTE (Azrael @ 21.Mar.2010, 09:14 PM) *
So Skane - would an immigrant be better off aiming for the skills that would lead to jobs in the public/gov. sector rather than the private sector?

Interesting question ... would merit its own thread IMHO

Apologies but I've only really dealt with the private sector here in Sweden so I don't think I've got the necessary experience to speak about attitudes among public sector employers ...

hopefully others on TL discuss can chip in their experience

pre-crisis Swedish employment hotspots for expats included IT (largely private sector) and Academia/Research (largely public sector)

In these sectors (and presumably others) clearly expats were (are?!) being hired by and large on the skills gap basis that you've identified as a logical first step for a migrant in search of a career here
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