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Sweden's most vulnerable communities are those where a single employer is dominant

Saturday, 01 October 2011
Sweden is a country of 9 million people and a few large - internationally facing companies. This is great, yeah? Possibly, but when most communities are reliant on one employer, which may also be international,  and big could that be a great thing?

For example, if a town such as Trollhattan is only reliant upon Saab automobile as a main employer and then Saab is struggling and might even go bankrupt. Is that good? Well, Don’t know! But in real modern economic sense, its not good but this is how Sweden is built - fewer large and dominant companies standing as dominant employer in communities which solely rely on then as giver of life.

There several places in Sweden other than Trollhattan, where the communities are more dependent on one employer. In Oxelösund, for example, almost more than every other worker in the municipality works for the steelmaker, SSAB.

The Swedish business daily in its Dagens Society review has ranked the municipalities that are most dependent on a single private employer in the country.
In a dozen towns, there is more than one in four residents working at the same workplace, the survey shows. In Oxelösund the figure is 51 percent.

Ministry of Industries officials are aware of the effects of such working arrangement especially when it comes to an unfortunate situation that those companies enter into restructuring of die out.  History shows such scenarios in other places such as the USA where a whole town is wiped out when such arrangement fail.

Places that are most dependent on an employer in Sweden



Percentage of employees



51 percent


Volvo Cars

34 percent



34 percent



32 percent



31 percent



30 percent



30 percent


Stora Enso

28 percent


ITT Water & Wastewater

28 percent


Kongsberg Automotive

25 percent

Trollhattan into place 42 in the ranking, with 15 percent of residents employed at Saab Automobile

 Source: Dagens Industri.

According to the ministry, such communities are in a position where it is obvious that with a major crisis ahead, there should be a wake up call and a reason to consider how it affects the local community.

A number of municipalities Dagens Industri talked to say that they are trying to reduce their dependency on a dominant employer. In Emmaboda, for example, more than one in four residents work for the major international group ITT Water & Wastewater.

"The concern is there all the time for a hammer somewhere in the world can change the conditions here. So we work a lot to get other establishments, "said Councillor Ann-Marie Fagerström, Social Democrats, to the paper.

In Sandviken, where about one in three people work for the engineering group Sandvik, there is a noticeable biting wind. Group management has decided to move its headquarters to Stockholm and now 400 jobs will go though it is still hard to tell where the cuts will fall.
"To think that Sandviken is not affected would be naive, "said Councilor Peter Kärnström, social democrats to Dagens Industri.

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