THEME: The hunt for manpower is on - is labour import the solution?

1MAY 2007 VOLUME 12 THE LABOUR MARKET,THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT AND RELATED ISSUES THEME: The hunt for manpower is on - is labour import the solution? Foto: Cata Portin News: Disabilities vs. the labour
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1MAY 2007 VOLUME 12 THE LABOUR MARKET,THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT AND RELATED ISSUES THEME: The hunt for manpower is on - is labour import the solution? Foto: Cata Portin News: Disabilities vs. the labour market / The Nordic region: defying economic theory / Theme: The hunt for manpower is on- is labour import the solution? EDITORIAL The challenge is still inclusion The Nordic region: defying economic theory is one of the stories in this issue of the Nordic Labour Journal. The Nordic countries are booming, despite warnings from mainstream economists. Now the Nordic model is under scrutiny by researchers on the hunt for the X factor. Unemployment is lower than for many decades. At the same time more older people will soon be leaving the labour market than young people entering it. We face a completely new situation, with economic growth, low unemployment and fewer people in the labour market. Who will get the job done? we ask in our theme: The fight for manpower is on. Employers are fighting over the most eligible workers, and want to import foreign competence. Is that the solution? At the same time, millions of people of working age in the Nordic countries are still unemployed. They are not sought-after. Can they become wanted? Globalisation, demographics and not least technological development lead to rapid changes in the labour market, and force authorities, employers and employees to plan for a new reality. The story on the Danish transport sector illustrates a dilemma: while the employers' union claim they lack 4-5,000 drivers, the trade union's numbers show 1,500 drivers in Denmark have no work, and that there are only 250 jobs being advertised. It's a perception gap, and here lie the challenges: the employers could have expanded their business, if, while workers want jobs, but can't find them. Those with foreign-sounding names have a particular problem. But ethnic Danes too struggle to meet increased demands for skills in a digitalised world. The hunt for the super-worker - that's how Roger Mörtvik at The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees describes this tendency for employers to up the skills threshold. In the piece Labour shortage on everyone's lips, he highlights the importance of workers having the chance to improve their skills during times of change, to avoid being forced out of the labour market, or being trapped in jobs from which they cannot make a decent living. Matti Vanhanen's new Finnish government breaks the world record with 60 per cent female ministers. Change happens slowly to women's position also in Nordic societies. But perhaps this shows that Finland can't afford to discriminate against women in the labour market, and that society needs both more labour and role models to show childbirth and careers don't necessarily clash. It's said that manpower is in short supply. Still there are millions of Nordic citizens who can't find work. The great test of the Nordic welfare societies is still how to answer the challenge of inclusion. ISSN Publisher: The Work Research Institute, Norway, commissioned by the Permanent Steering Committee for Labour Market and Working Environment Affairs under The Nordic Council of Ministers. Editor in chief: Berit Kvam, Work Research Institute. Production: Offset Forum AS, Oslo, Norway. May Number of copies: Editorial management: Phone: Fax: E-post: Berit Kvam, editor-in-chief, (WRI) Gunhild Wallin, editor mobile: Solveig Hæreid, editorial assistant (WRI) Work Research Institute, P.O.Box 6954 St. Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo. Internet: Nordic Council of Ministers: Store Strandstræde 18, 1255 København K. Internet: 1/MAY 2007 VOLUM 12 CONTENTS 4-7 NEWS - Disabilities vs. the labour market - The Nordic region: defying economic theory - The Nordic Model - built on trust 8-10 PORTRAIT - The Nordic women - leaders in gender equality By Tapio Vestinen THEME - The hunt for manpower is on - is labour import the solution? - New government wants increased immigration - Labour shortage on everyones lips - Chasing nurses and sailors... Norway's ethical dilemma of importing workers - Fighting over the unemployed 22 RESEARCH - Commission Green Paper on labour law and the challenges of the 21st century By Professor Niklas Bruun, University of Helsinki 23 SIDELONG GLANCE - Things to do on holiday By Pierre-Henry Deshayes Nordic Advisory Board: Phone: Fax: NMR Lars Djernæs, Labour Market Affairs, Nordic Council of Minister DK Marianne Poulsen, Ministry of Employment Søren Jensen, Public Employment Servicecenter FIN Helinä Tuominen, Ministry of Labour IS Margret Gunnarsdottir, Directorate of Labour NO Marianne Pedersen, Directorate of Employment and Welfare Finn Ola Jølstad, Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion Odd Einar Johansen, Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (mob) SE Ann Zachrison Nilsson, Ministry of Employment Mats Silvell, National Labour Market Board Matts Rydin, Swedish Work Environment Authority N E W S Disabilities vs. the labour market Young people with disabilities and their access to the labour market will receive special focus when Sweden takes the helm at the Nordic Council of Ministers in In the Nordic countries, 2-4 million people with varying degrees of disabilities have no work, and young people make up the majority of these. A catastrophe which flies in the face of the image of progressive Nordic states, is how Ivar Kristiansen, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, characterised the situation. By Gunhild Wallin It's important to be aware of these terrible figures.we're talking about millions of people with disabilities in the Nordic countries, and there are also large unknown figures, Ivar Kristiansen said. He was addressing the Nordic seminar The labour market for young people with disabilities. Mr Kristiansen has been chairman of the Nordic Council on Disability Policy since 2006.The council is a policy-shaping and advisory body for the entire Nordic Council of Ministers. Its aim is to raise important political questions on disability throughout the Council of Ministers' areas of co-operation. It also aims to initiate policies and to be a source of competence. The council has established five sector networks, one of which concentrates on labour market issues.the sector networks are made up of civil servants and representatives from disability organisations, and regularly organise conferences.this time the organiser was the network for labour market issues, in co-operation with Sweden's Ministry of Employment. Secretary General Inge Ovesen underlined the importance of easing the entry of young people with disabilities to the labour market. He argued the Nordic 4 NORDIC LABOUR JOURNAL countries needed a pronounced policy to include people with some form of disability, that there was a need to emphasise how work is important in terms of integration, and that lack of manpower meant more people must be made able to participate.there was a lot that the Nordic countries could learn from each other, said Mr Ovesen. Our differences and similarities can create a fruitful co-operation, he said. While the main focus at the Stockholm conference was the labour market for young people with disabilities, it used statistics incorporating all people with disabilities in the Nordic countries, and their relationship with the labour market.the statistics were provided by a commission of inquiry from the Norwegian Parliament. Ivar Kristiansen painted a bleak picture. Despite strong economic growth across the Nordic region, the number of people with disabilities in work is falling in all Nordic countries.there are more disabled people in work in Sweden than in the neighbouring countries - but there too, the number is falling. It looks as if it's becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to enter the labour market, despite pronounced political ambitions and anti-discriminatory legislation on an EU level and within the Nordic countries. The number of people with disabilities in work is falling in all Nordic countries (Photo: Tim Garcha/Zefa/Corbis) N E W S There's no lack of printed aims, but the numbers show something is being done wrong.we need a joint fight, Ivar Kristiansen said. Disability is a general term that tends to be defined differently in different countries.this makes comparisons difficult.the study of the Nordic countries, referred to by Ivar Kristiansen, included both people with disabilities and those on long-term sick leave.the statistic shows they are many, and they find it hard to gain a permanent foothold on the labour market. In Sweden, around 1 million people say they have some kind of disability, but that does not mean they are incapable of working. Some 62 per cent do work, but that's fewer than in the year 2000, and the number is lower than that for the general population. In Norway, around 15 per cent say they're disabled - that's some 471,000 people. Of these, 44.3 per cent were in paid employment, compared to 77.7 per cent of the general population. Denmark and Finland lack similar statistics, but there too the number of disabled people in work is considerably lower than for the rest of the population - and the number is falling. Working life for people with disabilities is often characterised by part-time work, fewer jobs demanding special competence, more jobs within the public sector and a greater need for specially adapted work places. In Sweden, more than 20 per cent of those of reduced working capacity say they feel bullied, through lack of salary increases, no offers of training, or being passed over for managerial positions. Ivar Kristiansen said it was important to alert politicians to the millions of people affected. One problem is that people with disabilities end up being bundled in with all social outcasts, and end up getting very little attention at all.this must change, he said. The transition from education to working life is particularly difficult for young people with disabilities.there are various projects addressing this problem in all of the Nordic countries. Between 2004 and 2006, the Norwegian Ministry of Government Administration and Reform ran a project for trainees in central government, to help young people with higher education and a disability to find work.there's now an aim to have five per cent people with disabilities out of all new public appointments. An audit in the spring of 2007 showed that 328 places of employment did now have experience of accepting and working with people with disabilities. 18 out of 329 people were trainees. Stockholm has its own labour exchange for young people with disabilities, which services 25 municipalities in Greater Stockholm. It approaches many people with disabilities before they leave school, and prepare the transition to working life taking into account the skills of each individual. Many of these young people struggle with dyslexia, and disabilities are a growing problem. Finding a job is detective's work. We become the young people's network, says Åsa Grönlund from the Swedish labour exchange. Nicoletta Zoannos is project coordinator for Sweden's 2-year EU project Independent Living Institute. She says they fight against institutionalised exclusion of young people with disabilities, by for instance organising work placements and trainee programmes in the Swedish public authority sector. The key question is how to get access to the labour market. Most people do it through a network, but many of the young people with disabilities don't have those contacts, so it becomes important to get a placement or a trainee contract, Nicoletta Zoannos says. She says they've chosen 300 of Sweden's 500 agencies and public organisations, using various methods to make them accept young people with disabilities.they approach top management or other key people within each agency or authority. A lot of the work they do centres on influencing attitudes and spreading knowledge - but it is also important to give support to those who accept the challenge. We see two trends. One is that the term diversity does not include people with disabilities. So when you talk about integration, you're talking about the ethnic kind.the other trend is that there is no money to finance work experience and trainee schemes for people with disabilities, says Nicoletta Zoannos. The labour market for young people with disabilities will receive special focus when Sweden takes the helm at the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2008, said Eva Uddén Sonnegård, secretary of state at the Swedish Ministry of Employment.The aim is to reduce the number of people missing out on working life. To be included into working life is to gain self confidence, to take control over your own life and to liberate yourself, she said. NORDIC LABOUR JOURNAL 5 N E W S The Nordic region: defying economic theory Norwegian professor Kalle Moene leads a centre at the University of Oslo The Nordic countries defy many of the traditional economic theories. Despite having large public sectors, strong unions, small wage differences, generous welfare states and high taxes, their economies have fared better than those of most countries. Norwegian professor Kalle Moene leads a centre at the University of Oslo which will study the phenomenon. He believes the threat to the Nordic Welfare Model comes not so much from the forces of globalisation, but rather from domestic pressures. By Björn Lindahl Our challenge is to explain why a system viewed by many economists as a blue print for a macroeconomic catastrophe is working so well.we will compare facts with theory. If the two don't add up, maybe it's time we changed the theory, he says. Last year, his ESOP centre was designated Norwegian Centre of Excellence for the coming five years. If this is extended with another five-year period, the budget will total100 million Norwegian crowns (12 million Euro), making this one of the largest social science research projects ever in Norway. The acronym ESOP stands for Equality, Social Organisation and Performance. Kalle Moene points out that the centre will not study the Nordic countries in isolation. They will be compared with many other countries, and the centre is keen to look at development issues. One of the main questions is whether citizens of the five Nordic countries have a stronger social commitment to equality than people in other counties. Psychological experiments The results of the research will be published and continually updated online, at One of the first projects, run jointly with the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (NHH), was a study involving 400 people from Norway, Germany, Tanzania and Uganda. It explored ways of equally distributing compensation for a job done. All the participants first had to perform a task for us. In this case it was typing extracts from a book by Charles Darwin onto a PC.After the work was done the participants were awarded money according to performance.then they were coupled randomly to other participants, maybe from a different country, and the two were asked to suggest how the pay should be distributed and which criteria would give a fair compensation. We haven't done all the calculations yet, so I don't want to reveal the results, but Germany stands out as less egalitarian in this case, while Norway is closer to Tanzania and Uganda, says Professor Moene. Compared to earlier research there will be no revolutionary new methods. We will work as traditional economists, but we may apply more institutional and psychology-based research as well.we will emphasise how political institutions and instruments can compliment each other. The policies reinforce each other. Small wage differences give a high political acceptance for a generous welfare state, which again leads to small wage differences, he says. What separates the Nordic region most from the rest of the world is perhaps the co-ordination of wage negotiations we have, where unions and employers' associations play an important role, as well as local bargaining. 6 NORDIC LABOUR JOURNAL N E W S Complex system He conjures up an image of a complicated set of knobs which have to be tweaked in a certain order to achieve the best result. Technically one could decide to introduce such a policy through parliamentary elections, but it doesn't work like that in a political-economic system, he says. The complexity and the interactions between the systems can be part of the reason why few other countries have adapted the welfare model, even if the interest in the model is very high - mainly from Southern Africa and Latina America. The ESOP centre's aim is not only to look at the positive sides of the Nordic Model, says Kalle Moene. There are also things that don't work so well.the integration of immigrants into the labour market is one problem. Will the Nordic model survive globalisation? Many people exaggerate the external threats and think they will affect the system more than internal problems. Many also think that the Nordic countries would be better off without such tough outside competition. But the opposite is true. These countries have done so well in the face of globalisation, because they've been so open and exposed to trade competition. The threats from within are much larger.what will the educational revolution do to wage equality? Does the system become socially unstable when a majority gets a higher education? Those are questions we need to look into. Kalle Moene and his team at ESOP are not the only ones trying to pinpoint exactly what makes the model work. At two Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) co-financed by NordForsk and several Nordic national science funding bodies, an attempt is made to increase the quality and heighten the international visibility of the welfare state research. Professor Pauli Kettunen at the University of Helsinki is heading a research programme on how values and traditions affects the formal and the informal rules and norms in the Nordic welfare states. Bjørn Hvinden, Head of Research at NOVA (Norwegian Institute for Research on Welfare and Aging) will lead a programme where many of the questions are relevant to the labour market, such as the challenge migration poses for redistributive welfare states. Other questions which will be addressed include whether people are becoming more or less socially excluded and what is being done to activate unemployed people. All in all, Kettunen's and Hvinden's research teams will receive almost 10 million Euro in support between 2007 and 2012 The Nordic Model - built on trust The Nordic Model combines competitiveness and growth with strong emphasis on welfare on a national level. But the model is also found on company level, and in other workplaces. By Björn Lindahl At the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Denmark the term social capital is used to describe the quality of an organisation when it comes to the relations between mangement and employees, as well as between employees themselves. A company can be more competitive because it has a high social capital. In such an organisation the employees have few conflicts and show a greater ability to change and to be flexible. Trust, respect and fairness are the central factors describing an organisation with a high social capital.the leadership trusts the employees to do their best. Peter Hasle and Niels Møller have done a study of the abattoir industry in Denmark which has attracted a lot of attention.they found that a trust culture which had developed between the production manager and shop steward team at some abattoirs later spread to the whole company. The new trust culture was based on involvement of both first line managers and employees.the involvement resulted in a better psychosocial work environment resulting in positive statistics showing low absenteeism, labour turnover and strike frequency. NORDIC LABOUR JOURNAL 7 P O R T R A I T T I A R T R O P The
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