This year's Small Business Barometer, an annual survey conducted by Swedbank, the Savings Bank and the Entrepreneurs' Trade Union which reflects the opinions of 4,000 business owners, has identified a lack in certain types of workers as the biggest growth barrier in 2018 for small businesses, which account for two thirds of the labor market in some parts of the country.
"Growth is still good, but the rate has slowed down compared with last year," Robert Wallin, deputy regional manager for the Entrepreneurs' Trade Union, told the news outlet Corren. According to him, the lack of competence is particularly acute in construction and trade.
In Östergötaland County in southern Sweden alone, 40 percent of the companies have been canceling orders due to work overloads and a labor shortage. According to Wallin, the companies aren't necessarily seeking employees with university degrees, but with the right attitude.
"You are looking for people who wake up in the morning, come to work on time, do what they are expected to do and come back the next day," Wallin explained.
The Linköping-based company Staga, which offers innovative solutions, doesn't employ millenials and young Swedish men in particular, favoring women and immigrants.
According to Staga CEO Sven Lundgren, there are no fixed rules, but immigrants tend to have better work ethics, as experience showed.
"We hire mostly new arrivals, regardless of gender," Sven Lundgren said.
Lundgren described the milennials as a hit-or-miss generation. Some of them started at entry level jobs and eventually worked their way up, whereas others displayed poor morale.
"We mostly avoid young Swedish men. Women generally have better work ethics," Sven Lundgren explained.
In a subsequent clarification on its web page, Staga claimed to be striving to be an attractive employer regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or the sexual orientation of employees. The company stressed that anyone with the right skills and attitude is welcome to work. The "Staga family" includes employees from Portugal, Greece, Albania, Somalia, Iran and Sweden.
Staga Sweden AB, is a relatively young Linköping-based company that focuses on developing technical products based on paper, plastic and non-woven materials for various industrial purposes.