Placing contractors in Sweden
Michelle Reilly, managing director at CXC Global
For any recruiter looking to place contractors across borders, it certainly helps if the location itself has a lot to entice professionals. Sweden, for example, has arguably become a more attractive place to work in recent months. Aside from the geographical elements – with a reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful countries – it has more recently been named the second most innovative country in the world.
The annual report – the Global Innovation Index – carried out by Cornell University, Insead and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), ranks countries based on numerous factors including infrastructure, market and business sophistication, creative output and research.
The country’s economy has also noted real positivity of late despite a slow start to the year. Recent reports reveal solid growth in the Nordic region and lower public spending, resulting in more positive forecasts for the coming year, which Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson claims demonstrates that "the Swedish economy is performing very strongly."
Looking more specifically at industries, there are a number of growth areas that will likely see demand for contract staff increase. According to the latest data, industrial production has noted a real spike in activity over the summer, with Statistics Sweden (SCB) revealing the sector hit a six month high in July. This increase in activity looks set to continue, with FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists predicting a further 2.5% rise in industrial production next year, good news for those looking to place expert industrial staff in the Nordic region.
The ecommerce field has also seen a real boost in activity, with the online retail sector noting an 18% increase in sales in Q2 compared to the same time last year, a trend which is predicted to continue in the coming months. This rapid growth in ecommerce will likely lead to increasing demand for expert tech contractors to update systems and implement new processes as firms look to beat the competition.
Pharmaceutical is also a real hot industry in the country at the moment as Sweden looks set to benefit from a potential Brexit fallout in the UK pharma arena. According to recent reports, Sweden is planning to make a bid for the European Medicines Agency should it relocate its headquarters out of London. Such a move will certainly see a growth in skills demand in the country as firms also relocate in order to be close to the agency’s base.
While there is a real air of positivity in Sweden and many opportunities to place contract staff across multiple disciplines, there are a number of tax and employment law considerations to bear in mind. As of the beginning of 2017, the country will be subject to the Common Reporting Standard, meaning that tax authorities across the globe will be able to request account information on individuals operating in Sweden. This will mean that contract staff will be subject to greater tax scrutiny, making it imperative that they seek out sound advice to ensure they, and potentially their employer and recruitment agency, avoid hefty penalties.
It’s also useful to remember that some professions require an individual to hold a special permit in order to work in Sweden, including healthcare, law and teaching. This will naturally lengthen the placement process, so ensure you manage expectations of the contractor and client from the off.
For foreign staff, there is also the potential to receive a 25% tax break if the professional holds a vital position in the company or is an expert able to offer unique expertise in their field. However, tax can be a real minefield, so it’s advisable to point contract staff towards an expert or seek them out yourselves before attempting to put any wheels in motion.
With a reputation as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, recognition as the second most innovative place across the globe and growth reported across multiple industries, recruiters will certainly find it easier to convince contractors that Sweden is the place for them. But, as with any placement across borders, there are a number of tax laws that will impact both you and your candidate, so always ensure you seek expert advice on this issue.
Picture courtesy of BlueSky PR