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YouthWiki

EACEA National Policies Platform
Sweden

Sweden

3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market

Last update: 11 June 2024
On this page
  1. Youth employment measures
  2. Flexicurity measures focusing on young people
  3. Reconciliation of private and working life for young people
  4. Funding of existing schemes/initiatives
  5. Quality assurance

Youth employment measures

The Swedish response (2020) to how Sweden addresses and considers the Council Recommendation of 30 October 2020 on a Reinforced Youth Guarantee, presents the Swedish strategic policy for promoting youth employment and the measures the Government has implemented. Results show that, on average in 2020, about 60% of the NEET population aged 15–29 in Sweden was covered by the Youth Guarantee scheme, well above the EU average of 40.3 percent.

Below is a list of examples from the Swedish response document of implemented and improved employment measures in line with the Youth Guarantee:

  • 2007 launch of the Job Guarantee for Young People
  • 2008 launch of New Start Jobs (NSJ)
  • 2010 launch of study motivation courses within the Job Guarantee for
    Young People
  • 2011 launch of the higher study grant for unemployed young people
  • 2013 strengthening of NSJ for long-term unemployed young people
  • 2014 clarifications in the legislation to ensure that young people receive the
    support and assistance they need to return to education
  • 2014 launch of the 90-day Guarantee (Fully implemented in 2017, goal
    reached in 2018, Guarantee ended in 2019.)
  • 2014 established the Delegation for the Employment of Young People
    (DUA)
  • 2015 appointment of a national youth NEET coordinator
  • 2015 The Fast Track Initiative for newly arrived immigrants
  • 2017 Additional instructions to DUA to foster cooperation for newly arrived
    migrants, (the Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly
    Arrived Migrants)
  • 2020 Summer jobs for young people
  • 2021 Youth Policy Letter
  • 2021 Summer jobs for young people in socio-economically disadvantaged
    households
     

The average number of participants in the Job Guarantee for young people decreased in 2022, while the transitions to both work and study were lower in 2022 compared to 2021. The decrease in the number of participants can probably be explained by a more favorable development in the labor market in 2022, that fewer young people became unemployed for a longer period of time, and that fewer young people were thus actualized for the job guarantee for young people. The share of young men who participated in the job guarantee was 59% compared to 41% among young women (Budget Bill 2024).

 
Youth Employment Delegation and the European Social Fund

An important step in the 90-day guarantee was that the Government established the Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants (Delegationen för unga och nyanlända till arbete). The Delegations mission was completed in March 2023, with a final report SOU 2023:7, På egna ben - Utvecklad samverkan för individers etablering på arbetsmarknaden (On your own - Developed collaboration for individuals' establishment on the labour market). The remit of the delegation was to ensure that labour market policy initiatives for youth unemployment have greater impact at the local level, facilitate central and local government cooperation and develop new forms of partnership. Since February 2017, enabling newly arrived migrants to become more effectively established in work was also a part of the delegation's task.

In addition to national youth employment measures, the European Social Fund (ESF) has an important role in promoting employment for youth through the financing of ESF projects with a special focus on early intervention and activation measures for those in NEET situations.                                                 

 

Specific target groups

There are groups of young people who have it harder than others to get a job.Young people with disabilities generally have a more vulnerable position in the labour market than those without disabilities. The same goes for those lacking upper secondary education or being born outside of Europe. Therefore, the Public Employment Service emphasises the importance of targeted efforts that are adapted to the individual's needs. The key is t to prioritize cooperation and early individual and qualitative support. Here, the 90-day guarantee for young people is an important tool for keeping unemployed young people active (Arbetsförmedlingen 2021).

Sweden has one of the lowest NEET rates in the EU. In 2023, the share was 5.7% in the age group 15 to 29, compared to the average for all EU countries of 11.2% (Eurostat). The government’s approach to labour market policy is however that measures should target those whose need is the greatest. 

 

Flexicurity measures focusing on young people

The Swedish National Reform Programme 2016, aimed at improving the conditions for full employment and inclusive sustainable growth up to 2020, stated that a number of agreements have been established to boost youth employment in recent years. Some agreements involve the government while others are between the social partners. In these cases the government supports its partners through different support structures.

Examples of agreements included the following:    

Vocational introduction agreements

The common target group for different agreements is young people with no relevant job experience. The construction of the agreements varies between industries, but common to all of them is that idea that work is to be combined with education (the education component is restricted to a maximum of 25% of working hours).

Student employee jobs

In 2014, a collective agreement on student employees was signed in the private, municipal and central government sectors. The private sector agreement refers to the property industry. The agreements vary but target students at universities, other higher education level institutions or those in post-secondary education, and refer to qualified work with a clear link to ongoing studies.

These jobs are temporary positions of varying durations, ranging from employment for a single term (Swedish Associations of Local Authorities and regions) to a maximum of four terms (central government), with the maximum weekly working hours of 10 to 15 hours per week on average.

For employees, the agreement provides an opportunity to work with qualified tasks and facilitates the transition from studies to working life. Employers gain the opportunity to utilise the competence of students from tertiary education, while at the same time, have the chance to show-off their business in order to attract a competent workforce.

Security provisions for young unemployed

Unemployed young people are, like any other workers, entitled to compensation from unemployment insurance. However, in order to receive benefits, two conditions must be met. First, the individual must have been employed for at least six month during a period of 13 months. Second, the individual must have been/be a member of an unemployment fund.

However, because of the changes on the labour market, combined with extended training periods and less stable employment conditions, young people often have difficulties to qualify for unemployment benefits. Many young people are therefore dependent on additional financial aid support.

The age group 18–24 represents almost a quarter of the recipients with social security benefits. The proportion of young people having unemployment as their main reason for social security benefits is significantly higher compared to middle-aged and elderly people.

What divides the conditions for young people seeking financial assistance from other age groups is the fact that social services have a stated right to condition the support with participation in internship or competence-raising efforts. 

A reformed unemployment insurance in 2024

In April 2024, the government decided on a bill on income-based unemployment insurance to the Riksdag. The proposal means that unemployment insurance is reformed and becomes a clearer transition insurance that strengthens the line of work and reduces the risk of fraud while reducing the administrative burden.

The new system creates the conditions for more people than before to be covered by unemployment insurance at the same time that unemployment insurance becomes a more pure transition insurance where the compensation is gradually scaled down during the time a person is unemployed.

The fact that the right to compensation is based on income instead of time worked also enables the unemployment funds to use the information that employers already submit to the Tax Agency in employer declarations, which creates great opportunities for simplification and efficiency for the unemployed, employers and the unemployment funds. In order to be entitled to unemployment compensation,  the applicant has to have reached the age of 20.

The new regulations are proposed to be introduced on 1 October 2025

Reconciliation of private and working life for young people

There are no youth specific policy measures or initiatives supporting the balance between work and family and responsibilities. 

 

Funding of existing schemes/initiatives

Funding of youth employment measures is mainly through the state budget, expenditure area labour market and working life. Various budget lines exist which finance different schemes within the budget area. Costs for labour market programmes and interventions, in which many youth is participating, are for example presented in the Budget bill for 2024.   

The Ministry of Employment administers the labour market budget and allocates appropriations to the Public Employment Service and the Swedish ESF Council.  

According to the Budget bill of 2024, the amount of funding earmarked for the European Social Fund+ was 1 387 000 Swedish kronor (about 123 000 euros).

 

Quality assurance

All youth employment schemes and measures are monitored and quality assured on a continual basis in order to ensure effectiveness and improvements are made.

The Public Employment Service conducts their own evaluations and presents regularly on its website the results of their monitoring and statistics from Statistics Sweden. Universities play an important role in labour market policy research. Social partners, different interest organisations and government agencies also contribute to changes and progress in labour market policy.

Presented below are two public authorities with a quality assurance function (see section 3.3, Skills Forecasting, for information on other actors).

The Swedish National audit Office (Riksrevisionen) is part of the central control power of the Swedish Parliament. Their task is to contribute to the efficient use of resources and efficient management of the state through an independent audit of all government operations.

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has the government task of analysing and evaluating state-funded activities. The agency has conducted a large number of studies among others about the Public Employment Service's work and the labour market programmes.