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Sweden – Job centre criticised for using staffing firm

18 September 2012

The Swedish public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen) has been criticised by local business groups for hiring the country’s second-largest staffing firm to support the employment agency with filling vacancies.

The contract has been negotiated recently with staffing provider Proffice, tasked to find recruiters for the publicly-run employment agency. It has not been published how many recruits Proffice is expected to make.   

For offering its staffing services, the company will be paid SEK 24,000 (€2,800) per successful recruitment, with the process also paying for interviews and reference checking.

But the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise condemned the employment agency for being unable to fill vacancies on their own and turning to external assistance from the staffing firm.

“It's sort of funny and says a lot about the agency. It reflects low self-confidence,” said Stefan Fölster, head economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

The media has also been critical of the deal, saying the practice had raised eyebrows among experts who find it paradox that the national employment agency is unable to cope with their own recruitment.

However, the employment agency defended the move and said it was normal to use a staffing firm to meet demand.

“We are devoted to helping jobseekers find work. That's what we're best at. Employment officers have substantial training. When we recruit our staff, we use our human resources department or a staffing company,” said Annette Ekström of the national agency to the newspaper DN.  

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