Getting more people into the labor market benefits both society, companies and individuals. The fact that a person goes from a grant recipient to a tax payer gives a social economic gain of around SEK 400,000. (And then neither the person's well-being, consequential effects of inclusion, nor the company's opportunity to grow are included.) In 2015, there were roughly 1,000,000 companies in Sweden. 99.9 % of these are small and medium-sized companies with under 250 employees. Many companies state that they do not come into contact with the target group of foreign-born job seekers via traditional recruitment channels. Furthermore, companies state that fear, ignorance, lack of time and convenience stand in the way of widened recruitment.
Opportunity Day started with the goal of inspiring more small and medium-sized companies to look for employees in new networks and to make it easier for both companies and jobseekers to get in touch with all the help that is available. In 2016, the first Opportunity Day was held in Gothenburg, and the concept has since spread to more municipalities and increased in size.
Opportunity Day's idea is simple. It is about 1. demonstrating the advantages, the business benefit and the societal benefit of diversity. And to 2. subsequently create new platforms for meetings. Partly to build experiences instead of prejudices, also to challenge traditional channels in recruitment. Our motto is: go from thought to action, and talk about opportunities instead of problems.
The focus is on putting the companies' needs at the center in everything we do - it is the companies that have the jobs and are arguably the key to a more inclusive labor market. The concept is based on collaborating across borders. To create meeting places for the municipality, authorities, job seekers, civil society and the business world.
Our goal: A more inclusive labor market that makes use of the skills of those born abroad, as well as a more equal society. Our belief is that the path to an equal society goes through jobs.
How: Started in 2016, run under private auspices in close cooperation with business and municipalities as well as with the voluntary community. A meeting place for the municipality, business, academia and civil society.
Make: Opportunity Day focuses on the resources. Our task is to encourage curiosity to look at skills that many entrepreneurs do not normally miss, as well as to facilitate the meeting between companies and foreign-born job seekers. We want to inspire companies to recruit from a wider target group. We spread the good example and create meeting places.
“The idea is simple. It is about inspiring and facilitating companies to make good choices. Facilitating the recruitment of people with a different ethnic background is not about charity. On the contrary. We lose an infinite amount of resources because a large group is outside the labor market. We want to draw employers' attention to skills that "are packaged differently" than the CVs you normally look at. It can be about other language skills, other educations and universities you don't recognize, as well as employers and references from other countries.
I am of the belief that work is one of the most important gateways into society. A person with a job automatically gets a completely different network, you get language training, become a role model for others in your vicinity, not least for your children, get your own livelihood, to name a few upsides. That we as a society become better at receiving all the resources that people with a different background possess would benefit both society, the people and the business world."
// Helena Lindahl, initiator of Opportunity Day