From Societal Engagement To A Most Important Recruitment Channel

Urban Björn, Senior Vice President, Swedbank

Urban Björn, Senior Vice President, Swedbank

When the “brain drain” situation became obvious, we took the initiative to pick up the cooperation with the Employment Office and started “Job at Last”.

In 2012, Sweden was said to have the most well educated taxi staff in the world. Swedbank, one of the four largest banks in the Nordic and Baltic markets, noticed this structural problem in the Swedish society. As a large company with a 200 years long history of CSR and doing good in the society, this was a challenge that could not resist. Some years before this, we launched our first cooperation - “Young Jobs”- with the Employment Office to fight the youth unemployment (at that time~25 percent). That concept was based on offering a three months practise at Swedbank with the sole purpose of giving young people their first row in their CVs. It was not intended to lead to a job offer, though that sometimes happened.

So, therefore when the “brain drain” situation became obvious – and the youth unemployment was not a big issue anymore – we took the initiative to pick up the cooperation with the Employment Office and started “Job at Last”. The idea and focus were to offer job-seeking, foreign-born persons with an academic exam – a six months practise at Swedbank. We knew this would be a challenge for the organisation and it was a slow start. But it grew and became sustainable.

Today, we have three to five recruitment days for Job at Last yearly, where we let managers meet candidates for interviews in a speed-dating format (20 minutes), from which, managers pick 10-15 candidates for six months internship. Our track record after seven years is 350 plus internships and of these, 70 percent has been offered a job at Swedbank after the practise period.

That is a great result in many ways. However, the side effects of Job at Last are several.

• In the last four years, we have increased the share foreignborn employees in our Swedish organisation from 8 percent to 15 percent. So, now we mirror our customer base in a much better way. Since we are aware of the advantage of having diversified teams, we ae also embracing this result.

• Each person within the internship has a supervisor and guide, who is a college. These colleges get a special training D and I and cultural awareness and they are measured on how well they train and develop their intern during the six months. Their target is to make the intern employable. What Swedbank gets is a learning culture, where it is highly attractive to develop a college.

• A lot of companies send their leaders to “Inclusive Leadership” training. We don’t need that. We now have leaders who have become inclusive in practise. Nine out of 10 managers, who enter one of our recruitment days, meet with our candidates and after interviewing six to eight of them in speed-dating format (15 minutes), decide to bring on an intern to their team for six months.

On top of this, we have also increased our attractiveness, especially among young people choosing their first job. But we can also see customers who are impressed by the initiative that still can be looked upon as a doing a great contribution to a societal problem.

However, Job at Last is no longer a CSR initiative in Swedbank. It has become one of our most important recruitment channels.

Weekly Brief

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