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The overall goal for Swedish labour market policy is to reach the lowest level of unemployment in the EU by 2020. An important part of the government's work agenda is an active labour market policy. Prioritized areas are thus to achieve better labour market matching, and to reduce time spent in unemployment among young people.
The importance of collaboration across a range of sectors at all societal levels – national, regional and local – is stressed both by labour market actors and the entrepreneurship policies.
General distribution between central and local authorities
Sweden has local self-government. This means that municipalities run local and regional affairs, acting on their own responsibility and in a local population’s interest. The basic division of responsibilities between central and local labour market policy has been established for many years. Labour market policy is a government responsibility, but local authorities have since the financial crisis years of the early 1990s become increasingly important players in terms of labour market policy initiatives at local level.
The Ordinance on Cooperation to reduce Youth Unemployment (Förordningen om samverkan för att minska ungdomsarbetslösheten) from 2015 regulates cooperation between local Public Employment Service offices and municipalities. It is stated in the ordinance that cooperation can take the form of local agreements and training contracts and shall apply to unemployed young people between 16 and 24 years of age. Furthermore, government support may be provided to a municipality for both the promotion of local agreements and the organisation of work or training under a training contract.
The Government has appointed the Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants (Dua) to promote cooperation between municipalities the Swedish Public Employment Service. Dua’s mandate includes conducting dialogue with and encouraging dialogue between individual municipalities, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), the labour market partners in the local government sphere (municipality and county council level), other central labour market partners, agencies, regional actors and others on how labour market policy initiatives to benefit young people and newly arrived migrants can be developed and made more effective at local level.
The Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) is in charge of youth policy. The ministry is responsible for preparing the elements of central government budget concerning youth.
The Division for Youth Policy is placed under the Ministry of Culture. The main task for the Division for Youth Policy is to coordinate and develop youth policy issues, including cross-sectoral youth policy objectives and the follow-up of youth policy. The Division for Youth Policy is also responsible for the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF).
The Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet) is in charge of issues that concern the well-functioning of the labour market. This includes measures to get young people into work, matching, labour-market policy programmes and unemployment insurance, as well as issues on labour law and work environment so that everyone has the opportunity to take part in working life with good working conditions.
The Division for Labour Market Policy is responsible for issues and matters concerning employment services, labour market policy programmes, the entry of new immigrants into the labour market, unemployment insurance, activity support and development allowance.
The Division is also responsible for vocational rehabilitation and other labour market policy issues concerning people with impairments who have a diminished work capacity. Included in the Division’s areas of responsibility are administrative and development issues concerning the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and the Council for the European Social Fund in Sweden (Swedish ESF Council).
The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation (Näringsdepartementet) is responsible for matters relating to housing and urban development, state-owned enterprises, information technology, enterprise and industrial policy, rural affairs, regional growth, postal service issues and infrastructure. Included in the Ministry’s areas of responsibility are administrative and development issues concerning the Swedish Innovation Agency (Vinnova) and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.
The Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) is in charge of managing youth employment measures in Sweden. The Public Employment Service is a single authority which means that all PES offices in Sweden are governed by the same rules and regulations. This ensures that the service offered is the same all over the country. However, factors such as local differences in labour demand can affect the range of education/training opportunities available, but in general all measures are offered on a national level.
The Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants (Dua) is to promote cooperation between municipalities and the Swedish Public Employment Service and the development of new forms of collaboration. The aim is to help to reduce youth unemployment and enable newly arrived migrants to become more effectively established in work. Within its overarching mandate, Dua’s tasks include encouraging municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen to enter into collaborative agreements at local level and put them into practice. Dua is also to allocate government grants to municipalities linked to these local agreements.
The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised pre-schooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. The Agency has the specific task of supporting initiatives and actors working to promote entrepreneurial learning and entrepreneurial skills in schools. The Agency has also been instructed to identify, analyse and disseminate experiences on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning in primary and upper secondary schools.
The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) has a government mandate to promote sustainable industrial development, regional growth and administrering structural funds and work to strengthen the competitiveness by facilitating entrepreneurship and creating attractive environments for companies in the regions.
A specific task is to allocate funds to be used for services or organisations that promote entrepreneurship in higher education.
The Swedish Innovation Agency (Vinnova) has the government task of promoting sustainable growth by improving the conditions for innovation, as well as funding needs-driven research.
In 2016, Vinnova was, together with The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, tasked to develop a three-year programme for young innovators aged between 18 and 30 years old. The programme consists of three sub-programmes which include stimulation of ideas, development of ideas and commercialization of ideas.
The Swedish ESF Council (Svenska ESF-rådet) has the government task of managing the Social Fund (Socialfonden) and Fead (Fonden för de som har det sämst ställt) in Sweden.
The overall goal for the Social fund is to contribute to a well-functioning labour market and a durably higher level of employment in the long term. Young people are a prioritized group, especially young people who have not completed secondary education.
Main non-public actors
The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Sverige, LO) is the central organisation for 14 affiliates which organise workers within both the private and the public sectors. LO is primarily an organisation for co-ordination, research, signing labour market insurance schemes and creating public opinion at central and regional levels.
LO Ung is a sub-division catering to members that are under the age of 30. LO Ung arranges conferences and campaigns, and provides information and support of particular interest to young employees.
The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO) is comprised of 14 affiliated trade unions. TCO promotes its members by trying to influence politics and society for the good conditions of work.
TCO have, in order to support young people making the transition from school to work, developed educational materials for labour market issues, primarily for upper secondary schools.
The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges akademiker, Saco) is a politically independent central organisation for 23 different unions. Altogether, they have 670 000 members. Saco promotes its members' interests and supports its unions through analyses, debates and shaping opinion. The confederation conducts studies and publishes reports, arranges seminars and activities, and participates in many different contexts in order to influence political decision-making.
Saco Student Council is Sweden's largest trade union student organisation. They represent over 100 000 students, which in turn are grouped into 19 different unions. The council work to influence education and facilitate the step between education and working life.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) is the largest business federation in Sweden. Their mission is to increase the understanding of business realities and ensure that all companies in Sweden have the best conditions in which to operate and grow. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise represents almost 60 000 small, medium and large businesses. These are organised into 50 trade and employer associations. The unions represent the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise's members. They work with advocacy and dissemination of knowledge, developing new ideas and concrete proposals to create a better climate for entrepreneurs.
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers, SAGE, (Arbetsgivarverket) is a membership organisation for Government agencies. The Employers’ Council determines employer policy and sets membership fees. It also appoints 15 members to the Board. The SAGE Board, which plays a central part in pay negotiations with the trade unions, is the supreme sovereign body between Council meetings.
The Employer Alliance (Arbestgivaralliansen) is an independent employers' organisation for civil society organisations. They provide professional employer expertise in all matters concerning the relationship between employers and workers, such as labour law, working, leadership and wages. The basis for the Employers' Alliance is to promote both employment law specialist knowledge with unique skills, and knowledge of the terms and conditions in civil society.
The Swedish Federation of Business Owners (Företagarna) is the largest business organisation in Sweden, representing the interests of around 70 000 business owners. It is an independent, non-partisan organisation owned by its members. Its aim is to promote entrepreneurship, improve conditions for business owners and to influence policy makers to simplify regulation and red tape to make it easier to start and run a business and create growth.
Business Owners provides a discounted membership for young entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
Young Enterprise Sweden (Ung företagsamhet) is a politically independent, non-profit educational organisation and is part of the worldwide organisation Junior Achievement. Young Enterprise gives children and young people the opportunity to practice and develop their creativity and entrepreneurship ability. Among other things, Young Enterprise provides teachers and school leaders with training opportunities, assessment support and seminars.
Future-Seeds (Framtidsfrön) is a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting attitudes towards entrepreneurship and to develop the entrepreneurial approach in schools. Since 2002, they are working to support schools in its mission to recognize and develop young people's intrinsic motivation, curiosity and creativity, while at the same time helping schools to a close interaction with the outside world.
Finnup is a non-profit organisation with the purpose of encouraging young people’s innovation interest and increase entrepreneurial learning, with the aim of contributing to a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs for the future labour market. Finnupp also works to strengthen young people's confidence and ability to think about their own ideas.
All Government decisions are taken jointly. Besides this, an institutionalised mechanism, Gemensam beredning ('the Joint preparation procedure') is a common process for all ministries in Government Offices. The Joint preparation procedure implies that government affairs that fall within the activity of several ministries should be prepared in consultation with the other ministers concerned. This also applies within a ministry when a case involves more than one minister. Related to youth policy, the joint preparation procedure takes place relatively often because of the cross-sectoral character of youth policy.