EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Sweden: Comparative Analytical Report (ERM) on young people Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
Sweden
Author:
Jan Persson and David Björnberg
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The situation of NEETs is a major concern for all relevant stakeholders on the Swedish labour market and a recurrent theme in Swedish public debate. The issue is highly politicised and were one of the major issues in the election campaign of 2010. The government has launched a broad variety of measures, both educational and incentive. The problem of early school leavers has, for instance, led to a major reform of Swedish secondary education. However, evaluations have shown that several incentive measures, such as the reduced payroll tax and the increase of internships distributed by the Employment Service, has had little or no effect on youth unemployment figures.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

The high unemployment figures for youths are a vital concern for policy makers and trade unions, and the issue of NEETs is a recurrent theme in Swedish public debate. In 2010, 25 % of the Swedes between 15 and 24 years old were unemployed. That was well over the average of all 27 EU members which was 20,7 % during 2010. According to several Swedish studies, unemployment at a young age may cause decreasing living conditions and permanent financial problems. In the election campaign of 2010, the political opposition considered the high youth unemployment figures and the situation for NEETs to be the incumbent government’s biggest failure.

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

Significant concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Teenage/ single parents

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Young people with disabilities

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Other (please specify):

.

       

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

The share of the unemployed with an academic exam has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.

According to the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (SACO), internships are generally the best measure to prevent unemployment among young academics. There are generally few measures specifically targeted at NEETs with tertiary education. However, one of them, the Young Potentials Programme (YPP), is more thoroughly described in section 2.2.6.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

Early school leavings in Sweden have increased during the latter half of the 2000s, and were 2010 clearly above the EU27 average. The government have implemented a number of preventive measures in the secondary educational system (Gymnasium) to reverse the current trend. To increase completion rates, the Gymnasium will be reformed and better adapted to each student’s individual interests and talents. For instance, practical minded students will spend more time on vocational training and less time on academic theory. Among other things, apprenticeship programs and a new set of grades will also be introduced.

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Name of measure

Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Vocational Programmes in Secondary Education

In 2011, the Swedish secondary school system will undergo a major reform called GY2011. GY2011 contain several measures to reduce early school leavings, such as the introduction of new vocational programmes. The new programmes will ensure that students acquire more vocationally specific knowledge; the purpose is to increase upper secondary completion rates by capturing the interest of those students discouraged by the theoretical subject’s heavy load under the previous system.

The new vocational programmes will be the same as the twelve existing programmes (Electricity and energy, Childcare, Construction, Transport, Retail and trade, Handicraft, Hotel and tourism, Industry, Natural resource management, Health care, Restaurant and catering, Water, waste and sanitary) but half of the education time will be done at a workplace. Less time is therefore spent on theoretical subjects. This is a change from the existing vocational programmes that all make the students eligible for university. The new vocational programmes doesn’t.

Scale of measure: National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded? National state funding

Is this a NEET-specific measure? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

.

Introduction Programmes to secondary education

GY2011 will introduce a new system for students not qualified to attend secondary education. Five introduction programmes, entitled Preparatory Course, Programme-oriented Individual Selection, Vocational Introduction, Individual Alternative and Language Introduction, will run from the autumn term of 2011. The intention is that these programmes will lead to participation in a national programme later on. The students will be offered full-time courses, determined by an individual syllabus.

Scale of measure: National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded? National state funding

Is this a NEET-specific measure? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Measure 3:  

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Since 2006, Swedish municipalities organise voluntary summer schools for students aged 7-19. In 2011, the summer schools received 60 million SEK (approximately 6.5 million €) in funding from the state. The main target group is students in ninth grade who have failed to qualify for upper secondary education. According to an evaluation carried out by The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) 2008, more than half of the participants aged 14-16 managed to achieve their goals and pass courses required for participation in national programmes. The evaluation further stated that the summer school had reinforced the students’ academic confidence and reduced the risk of early school leavings. Several success factors are mentioned in the report. For instance, classes are generally small and all the teachers have specific eligibility. 2011, a total of 23 000 students participated in the summer schools.

Scale of measure: National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded? National state funding

Is this a NEET-specific measure? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

The main focus of Swedish reintegration measures is to offer young people a second chance to learn or to achieve a qualification. In Sweden, each municipality is responsible for ensuring that adult education is available. Every inhabitant over the age of 20 years living in Sweden is entitled to take part in the basic adult education programme. Adult education is offered by municipalities, mainly through the adult secondary education programme (Kommunal vuxenutbildning,Komvux) or Folk High School (Folkhögskola). There are also measures measures specifically targeted at minority groups, such as SFI (Swedish for immigrants) and Särvux (adult education for persons with special needs).

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures
Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Raised Educational aid for early school leavers

Unemployed youths (aged 20-24) without a graduation from upper secondary education will receive raised educational aid during the period 2011-2013. The objective is to motivate early school leavers to retain and finalise their education. The measure is temporary, since the government fears that permanent changes will encourage students to drop out of current secondary education. A total of 3500 people will be affected be the changes.

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? Specific

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Increased finical support to Folk High Schools

To complement the education normally offered in the job guarantee for youths (described in section 2.2.3), the government has invested extra resources in folk high schools (Folkhögskolor). The overall objective of the measure, aimed at people aged 16-25 without a secondary graduation, is to raise the participant’s motivation to finalise their secondary education. The specially adapted pedagogy used at Folk High Schools may, according to the government, be especially motivational. The Employment Service is in charge of the measure and will grant the financial support during the education period. The aim is to offer 4000 youths 60 education days during three consecutive months during 2010, and that at least 800 youths should be motivated to finalise their secondary education.

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? Specific

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Measure 3:  

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The increasing number of NEETs was observed already in the early 2000s. To avoid social alienation of young people, locally situated Navigator Centres were formed 2004. The purpose of the centers was to create a common ground of cooperation for different actors helping youth toward employment and education. When in need, young people should not be directed to several different public instances. The centres addressed all the needs of the young person, not just their skills needs. In 2008-2010, the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs (Ungdomstyrelsen) granted a national network of local Navigator Centres. According to an evaluation carried out by Ungdomsstyrelsen, between 45 and 71% of all visitors at Navigator Centres managed to move on to employment or education within a year. In addition, those who did not succeed stated that their confidence and commitment to work had been strengthened.

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Bipartite

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? Specific

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

The incumbent centre-right government has increased the number of job-search programmes which offers job coaching and various forms of guidance. These measures are supposed to improve the matching on the labour market and increase the unemployed person’s confidence and motivation. Job coaches are a controversial feature of the Swedish labour market. The Employment Agency claims that as many as 40 % secured jobs after they joined the three-month job coach program, but that figure is reported to include hourly-paid and temporary staff who are still looking for jobs. As of 2010, job coaches are available for both short and long-term unemployed.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Job coaches available for short-term unemployed

Due to the economic crisis, the government made job coaches more available for the short-term unemployed 2009. Anyone in the danger of becoming unemployed is offered support and coaching for a maximum period of six month. Previously, job coaches were only offered to long-term unemployed. The Employment Service provides both public and private coaches through procurements.

For youths coming straight from school the job coach programme gives them an introduction of how to apply for jobs and introduces them to what jobs are available.

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? Specific

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Vocational mentoring for newly arrived immigrants

The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs (Ungdomsstyrelsen) gives grants to projects that provide mentors for newly arrived immigrants. The purpose is to shorten immigrant’s path to employment. Nine non-profit organisations, including the Red Cross and Integration in Sweden, have been given grants for a total sum 15 million SEK (approximately 1.6 million €) for the period 2010-2012. The mentors will among other things provide connections, networks and experiences. Women are especially prioritised in this project.

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Tripartite

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? Yes

Measure 3:  

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

In 2009, a job guarantee for young people (Jobbgaranti för ungdom) were introduced. The aim of the measure is to help young people more rapidly find a job or enroll in the regular education system. The focus in the guarantee is on job search activities, such as guidance and coaching. These activities are also combined with work internships, apprentices and other work experience placements. Further measures in the job guarantee framework was added in 2010, such as the internship programme Lyft. Anyone aged 16-25 and enrolled at the Public Employment Service for at least three month is entitled to take part in the job guarantee. According to an evaluation carried out by the Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU), unemployed 24-year olds participating in the guarantee managed to find a job quicker than older people enrolled at the Public Employment Service 2008. However, this effect disappeared in 2009. IFAU concludes that the measure may be less successful in times of economic crisis. During 2010, nearly 53 000 people participated in the job guarantee which costs approximately 2.8 billion SEK (310 million €).

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Measures to foster employability

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

Internships delegated by the Employment Service have been a regular feature in Swedish labour market politics for a long time, and Sweden’s main approach to foster employability. As of June 2010, the Employment Service offers various forms of different internships, such as regular work internships, specially designed internships for immigrants without experience any experience of the Swedish labour market and internships focused on professional development. Thus, there are both general internships and those designed for people with a disadvantaged background.

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)
Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Work Internships distributed by the Employment Service

Internships delegated by the Employment Service were especially emphasised in the government’s economic crisis plan 2009. The number of participants in the measure rose from 500 to 14000 between the years 2009 and 2010. The objective is to give the participants work experience and connections, and anyone enrolled as unemployed at the Employment Protection Service can apply for internships. According to an evaluation carried out by the Swedish National Audit Office 2010, internships primarily leads to part-time employments.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Bipartite

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

New Apprenticeship programme in upper secondary education

The new upper secondary school system from 2011, GY2011, will include a new apprenticeship programme. Students in upper secondary apprenticeship will receive a vocational diploma on completion of their vocational training. Those who participate in upper secondary apprenticeship training will also be able to reduce their load of some core courses in among others Swedish, English and mathematics. Employers that hire and supervise apprentices will receive nearly 25 000 SEK (approximately 2 700 €) per apprentice and year. Overall, funding is in place to cover the costs for approximately 18 000 apprentices over the first three years.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

.

Measure 3:

.

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

There is some internship programs specifically designed for those with tertiary education, such as the Young Potentials Programme (YPP). The YPP is a joint collaboration between some of Sweden’s largest companies and the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), and offers 1000 academics aged 25-29 internships lasting from three to six months. During this period, the interns also have access to carrier guidance and job coaching. During 2010, the TPP collaborates with five partnering companies: IKEA, Alfa Laval, Telia Sonera, Lantmännen and Trelleborg. In addition, the interns will spend one month on a Non-Governmental-Organisation (NGO). The YPP has been very well received in the private business sector, which welcomes further initiatives with similar structure. The company’s liking of this initiative is mainly twofold. They get to introduce a young academic to their company and get them interested in their operations and also they can enhance their CSR-profile by having the interns working at an NGO like the Salvation Army or other charities.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Tripartite

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority background? No

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

Swedish authorities, both at local and national level, offer a wide variety of measures designed to help vulnerable groups of some sort. These measures are a vital part of the Swedish welfare state and include, among others, maximum fees for childcare, adult education for persons with special needs and language course offered to newly arrived immigrants. However, these measures are not necessarily launched to foster employability or create new jobs or business opportunities; they are not considered to be a part of labour market policies.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

New bonus to immigrants who learn Swedish

Swedish for immigrants (Svenskundervisning för invandrare, SFI) are the national free Swedish language course offered to immigrants above the age of 16. The objective of SFI is to equip adult immigrants with basic knowledge of the Swedish language as well as information on laws, codes of practice, set of values and culture and traditions. The training will enhance their chances for a job or further studies. The training is paid for by the municipality in which the immigrant lives. Since 2010, those who complete SFI-courses within twelve months can be rewarded with a bonus of 12 000 SEK (1 320 €).

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? Yes

New Agency for Vocational Training

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (HVEC) was established in June 2009. The agency’s main task is to develop and oversee a new form of publicly funded vocational education at post upper secondary level, and to set up a common framework agreed on and followed by vocational education and training providers. HVEC will also analyse potential labour market needs and create contacts between vocational educations and private companies. This initiative aims at better preparing students for their future work life and to let companies in a higher degree be able to tailor make the vocational training after their needs. In doing so potential mismatches between students and employers are reduced.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Measure 3:  

Employer incentives

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie? Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Employer incentives are frequently used to decrease unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular, more so then many other types of measures described in this report. Employer measures, like the reduced payroll tax for young and the Step-In-Jobs, are generally implemented nationally and involve large sums of money. For instance, it is reported that every new job created by the reduced payroll tax has cost the state nearly 1 million SEK (approximately 110 000 €).

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country.

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives
Access to employment: Employer incentives
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Reduced payroll tax for young

In 2007 and 2009 respectively, the Swedish government lowered payroll taxes for youths. The intention was to reduce unemployment for younger workers by making them less expensive to hire. Youths are defined as people aged 18-25. The rationale behind the measure is that young people often are less productive then older personnel, which hampers them on the labour market. By lowering the pay roll tax, the demand for young people’s labour will rise.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? No

Step-In-Jobs

A Step-In-Job is a subsidised employment directed towards immigrants who are taking a course in Swedish for Immigrants (SFI); the state pays a share of the employers pay cost. It is possible to have a step-in-job for 6 months at a time, for a maximum of 24 months. Pay and other employment conditions most comply with collective agreements in the specific sector. The reform, first launched 2007, offers immigrants a door-opener into the labour market and provides employers with cheap labour.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? Yes

Measure 3:  

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The New-Start-Job reform aims to increase the opportunities available for those groups of people who are most detached from the labour market (SE0703019I). These include long-term unemployed people, young people and immigrants. The new-start jobs are regular types of employment, for which employers willing to hire people from the target groups are not required to pay social security contributions or payroll tax for the new recruits. If hiring a person below the age of 26, the employer can receive support for a maximum period of one year. To be granted a new-start job, the salary and other benefits have to be in line with provisions of sector-specific collective agreements. According to an evaluation carried out by Ramböll Management, 68 % of all people below the age of 25 had some sort of employment 90 days after they completed a New-Start-Job. Ramböll concedes that the reform is an effective door-opener into the labour market. In February 2011, 42 000 people had new start jobs.

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local) National

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral? Unilateral

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? National

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs? General

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education? No

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group? Yes

3. Conclusion

While the total unemployment in Sweden is below EU27-average, youth unemployment is well above the same average. According to several leading economists, the Swedish labour market is particularly hard to enter, and unemployment at a young age may cause permanent economic hardship. The situation of NEETs is especially difficult, since economic decline and unemployment generally hits early school leavers hardest. The situation of NEETs is therefore a major concern for all relevant stakeholders on the Swedish labour market. In the government’s annual propositions for 2008-2011, the problem of NEETs is pointed out on several occasions, and all major social partners have action plans on how to deal with youth unemployment. The public debate on unemployment in general and NEETs in particular are highly politicised and ideological (SE1103019I). The political opposition, as well as several social partners, is critical of the government’s active labour market policy; it mainly focuses on raising the labour supply by launching economic incentives.

EU level action in this field has had minimal to zero impact on the NEET agenda in Sweden. All major measures are founded nationally or by local authorities.

A broad variety of measures to tackle youth unemployment has been launched in recent years. However, the measures efficiency can often be questioned. Impartial evaluations have shown that several measures, such as the reduced payroll tax and the increase of internships distributed by the Employment Service, has had little to no effect on youth unemployment figures. In general, labour subsidies have not affected the unemployment figures as planned. The key tool to decrease the number of long-term NEETs is education and second chance schools in various forms; job seekers without a secondary education struggle on the Swedish labour market. The government has launched several educational measures, such as a redesign of the current secondary education. However, it takes years to observe the effects of many of these measures, and it is therefore not possible to review them in this analysis.

References:

Jan Persson and David Björnberg, Oxford Research

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