Norrland Living, September-October 2022.


Pay them well

What we're talking about
Paul and Donna photographed by Caitlin Connolly.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years from Norrland politicians about how the region needs to attract newcomers. And, undeniably, northern kommuns have been working hard to attract new people to the region in trades such as engineering and manufacturing, where many of the new ‘green’ jobs are being created. But Norrland, as does all of Sweden, also needs doctors, nurses, dentists and care assistants. The need for these competencies is critical already: for instance, 100,000 northern Swedes are on dentists’ waiting lists, with many from Norrbotten having to seek emergency treatment in Finland. This is an embarrassment, especially as the area is trying to sell itself to overseas candidates. If you factor in the targeted 100,000 or so new people over the next decade, how exactly will we look after those newcomers, if we can’t look after those already here? The barriers to overseas medical professionals (and most other overseas professionals, too, if it comes to that) are notoriously difficult to surmount in Sweden. It’s one of the few real grumbles we have with living here. It needs to be easier for newcomers to find work in regulated professions such as healthcare, especially in areas, such as Norrland, which are struggling to cope. And the importance of paying good salaries should not be underestimated. If you want good people, and if you want them to move somewhere they had never previously considered moving to, you need to pay them well. Make a place welcoming to newcomers, make it easier for people to find work, and then pay them a good salary. Is that a magical formula, or just common sense? 


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