July 30, 2015

More Swedish jobs going to migrants

An increasing number of jobs in Sweden are going to foreigners as the country’s working-age population continues to shrink, according to the latest government figures.

Data published by Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish government agency for employment, show that the number of jobs going to people born outside the country grew from 11,200 in January to 16,800 in June.

The reason for the increase could be partly accounted for by the decline in Sweden’s native-born working-age population. Data from the World Bank show that Sweden’s age-dependency ratio (the proportion of people aged under 15 or over 64, relative to those of working age) has steadily increased in recent years, from 53% in 2010 to 58% in 2014.

The Local website reports that demand for migrant workers is particularly high in Sweden’s service sector, including property maintenance and cleaning services. However, the largest group of economic migrants is IT consultants, predominantly from India and eastern Europe.

The relationship between immigration and native workers’ jobs is often controversial. Amelie Constant has written on this subject for IZA World of Labor. In her article, Constant argues that: “Whether high- or low-skilled, migrants rarely substitute directly for native workers. Instead, migrants often complement native workers or accept jobs that natives don’t want or can’t do. They create new jobs by increasing production, engaging in self-employment, and easing upward job mobility for native workers. The presence of immigrants increases demand and can spur new businesses to open, creating more jobs for immigrant and native populations.”

Read more on this story here.

Related articles:
Do migrants take the jobs of native workers? by Amelie F. Constant
Circular migration by Klaus F. Zimmermann
Skill-based immigration, economic integration, and economic performance by Abdurrahman B. Aydemir

Find more IZA World of Labor articles on migration here