Sweden lags behind in global study on skills supply

By Beyondo, 2. Nov 2023

By Helene Claesson Jennische


It's time to let go of business as usual. The world of work is facing a transformation and Sweden does not seem to be keeping up. This is the opinion of Stefan Tengblad, Professor of HRM.

The Cranet survey is a global survey that measures HRM practices in 38 countries. Stefan Tengblad, Professor of HRM, has in a report studied the results from the Swedish part of the survey, with a focus on skills supply.

"There are a lot of complaints that there is a shortage of skills out there, but if you look at this survey, you might as well turn the tables and ask yourself what employers are actually doing to get the skills they need. Maybe they need to use other methods when recruiting? Perhaps they need to develop the skills they need themselves? See the potential they have in their own organization?" says Stefan Tengblad, who sees tendencies that are worrying in the survey.

"There is not much in the Swedish material that stands out as a role model or source of inspiration. In Sweden, we don't invest as much in skills supply, our methods for selection and performance assessment are conventional, and the difference between how managers and white-collar workers are handled vis-à-vis blue-collar workers and the like is relatively large," he says.

The world of work is facing a transformation where business as usual and enduring traditions are not enough.


1200X620 WEBSIDA - from September 2023 (1)

But is it important to set an example?

"I believe that working life is facing a transformation where it is not enough to have business as usual and persistent traditions. Digitalisation, AI and the green transition are now changing things quickly – doing what you have always done is not enough. We also have a new generation entering the labour market, a generation that can probably experience the current system of performance appraisals once a year and scattered bursts of staff training as something stale if not outright obsolete," says Stefan Tengblad.

When it comes to the inequality between managers and workers, it's mainly about skills development. Sweden stands out in the survey as it invests a lot in training its managers and senior officials, but does not do the same with workers on the floor.

Tengblad suspects that it is also a matter of traditions. But the question is how smart it is to focus on developing the skills of managers but not workers?

"Isn't it more important to have well-motivated workers and efficient teams in production and distribution? With adequate skills development on the floor, disruptions in production can be reduced and efficiency improvements can be made easier. With more skilled and motivated workers, fewer white-collar workers may even be needed," he says.

This article was translated by Beyondo with the permission of the author, By Helene Claesson Jennische.

Here you can read The orginal article .