Young job hunters desert Sweden for Norway

As youth unemployment soars in Sweden, more youngsters are fleeing across the border to Norway in an attempt to find work. A quarter of Swedes aged between 15 and 24 now find themselves outside the labour market in their home country, with the ongoing economic crisis only making matters worse.

According to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the migration could result in long-term damage to the country’s growth. The number of Swedes choosing to work for their Norwegian neighbours has risen by 25 percent in just two years, to 83,000 in 2009. Of those Swedes with a tax card in the country, 35 percent are in their twenties.

“I have more questions than before about foreign opportunities from those with academic training,” said Pirjo Vaananen from the Public Employment Service in an interview with Stockholm News. “Often they show an active interest in working abroad just before they finish their education,” he added.

Advisor for the Norwegian Employment Service, Johannes Sorbo, said, “It is certainly a plus that wages are better than in Sweden, and it is easier for young people to find jobs in Norway than in Sweden. We have a labour shortage.” Sorbo added that young Swedes are popular with Norwegian employers as, “they are known to be skilled and easy to deal with, and the language is of course no problem.”

Economist for the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Malin Sahlen, said the issue is not so positive for Sweden. “It’s really worrying that graduates and other young people see a reason to leave Sweden. For companies, who will need these employees later, a direct consequence is that key skill and potential is leaving the country. In the long term, this means lower growth and prosperity for the country as a whole,” Sahlen told Stockholm News.

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