Lowering wages and reducing the entry requirements for vocational courses are among measures Sweden should take to make its labour market “more inclusive”, according to a new report from SNS’s Economic Council.
The highly influential think tank’s economic report for 2017 says that while most demographic groups in Sweden are well served by the labour market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for migrants from outside Europe, unskilled youths, and older people without jobs to find work.
“More and more of the problems that we can see in the labour market concern these groups. You could say that [Sweden’s economic policies] work well overall, but that they are failing these groups [who find it tough to get a job]”, said Oskar Nordström Skans, professor of economics at Uppsala University and chairman of the SNS’s Economic Council.
In order to tackle youth unemployment, the Council recommends lowering admission requirements for vocational programmes in upper secondary schools. It calls on the government to reduce the grades required, as this will make it easier for pupils to obtain a high school diploma, which the Council notes “is an important signal to future employers”.
Allowing certain industries to pay lower salaries to people in unskilled jobs is another of the measures the paper says Sweden should take in order to make its labour market more inclusive.
According to the Economic Council’s chair, the service sector is a particularly well-suited area in which wages could be driven down for workers in low-paid positions “without having adverse consequences for other employees”.
“I am absolutely convinced that a wider range of different salary bands would help enable [unskilled workers] to enter the labour market”, Skans told Sweden Radio.
To help non-European migrants into work, the Council says the state should fill the period in which newcomers wait for asylum decisions with Swedish language classes. It also recommends the government simplify subsidies available to businesses employing migrants so that they are used more frequently.
In November, Breitbart London reported that only 16 per cent of migrant doctors were approved to practice in Sweden following the National Board’s first trial test for doctors from outside Europe.