The Best Place To Lose Your Job

Nobody likes to lose a job. But if this did happen to you, where should you be living?

Some think its Sweden. This Nordic nation has a system designed to not only find people a new job, but a better one. That’s due to a nationwide private welfare service for workers who have recently been laid off. Companies support ‘job security councils’, which provide coaches who work to match people’s skills and ambitions with the market. There are 16 councils, each covering a different economic sector; they find new jobs for people who are out of work for economic reasons.

Employers pay 0.3% of their total payroll into the councils. The money accumulates when the economy is strong, to be used when there is restructuring or downsizing. Workers have access to the councils wherever trade unions have an agreement with employers, and in Sweden 90% of employees work in unionized workplaces.

This system’s existence means individual businesses have an easier time selling needed layoffs. For the entire economy, the system acts as a lubricant, making it easier for businesses to eliminate jobs made redundant by technology.

There are state-run job centers which also try to match unemployed people with job vacancies. However, these best serve the long-term unemployed, or unskilled people trying to find their first jobs. The job councils focus on re-skilling and replacing those already in the labor market.

The result is Sweden has the best re-employment rates in the developed world – about 90% of laid-off workers are back to work within a year, according to the OECD. In fact, Swedish workers aged younger than 30 actually see their earnings increase after being laid off.

In fact, with a system like this, being laid off could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Taken from “Is Sweden the Best Place to Lose Your Job?” by David Crouch (

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