in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill occupations (2.6)

The wage premium attached to high-skill occupations fell this year, reducing Sweden’s occupational wage spread.

Education flexibility (7.9)

Improving education standards in recent years contributed to Sweden’s lower Overall Index score.

Labour market participation (4.1)

Sweden’s participation growth rate is forecast to fall this year. Declining labour market growth rates put pressure on firms seeking to expand.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


Johan Alsen

Managing Director, Hays Sweden

View from the Ground

Sweden overall is in rather good shape. Financially the country is stable and has been over the last few years, despite some alarm bells ringing. Sweden accepted a large number of migrants a few years ago, which created a larger pool of workers but not necessarily ones with the skills required by employers. The risk of industry growth stagnation is also still present. High wage pressure combined with skills mismatches are one of the biggest challenges for Swedish companies. On a positive note, educational flexibility is improving and Sweden is producing more graduates with suitable skills and who are better prepared for the world of work than previously; this should lead to improvements in other aspects of the labour market in the future.

Johan Alsen, Managing Director, Hays Sweden


COUNTRY profile

Sweden’s economy continues to expand. In 2017, real GDP increased by 2.5%. The IMF forecast it will increase by 2.6% and 2.2% in 2018 and 2019.

To produce the growth in output, employment rose by over 2% in 2017. This reduced unemployment to 6.7%. Vacancies for jobs of over ten days’ duration increased by 19%. The increased demand for labour boosted the participation rate which rose to 73%.

The National Institute for Economic Research’s business tendency survey points to continued employment growth in 2018.

Key skills in demand

  • Process Engineers
  • Project Leaders
  • Laboratory Engineers
  • IT Developers (Java, embedded)
  • Testers/Test Leaders