Our history

The story of Arbetsförmedlingen stretches back more than 100 years. Over the years we have always adapted our operations to changes in society and the needs of the labour market. Here are some milestones.

Our history


6 minutes 54 seconds

Sweden’s first employment office opened in Helsingborg in 1902, a neutral meeting place for jobseekers and employers. The film was produced in 2012. (In Swedish)

Arbetsförmedlingen year by year

1902: The first employment office

Sweden’s first employment service office is opened: Helsingborgs Stads Arbetskontor. A municipal employment office in a former hospital building.

Svartvitt foto av hus med träd i förgrund.
Svartvit bild på en samling män som sitter i ett trångt väntrum.

Photo from a waiting room at the bakers’ employment office in 1936.

1940: The service is nationalised

Statens Arbetsmarknadskommission is established with the task of administering labour market policy programmes. The employment offices are nationalised and county employment boards are established.

1948: New government agency with a nationwide responsibility

Statens Arbetsmarknadskommission is reformed and becomes Arbetsmarknadsstyrelsen, which is tasked with overarching responsibility for Arbetsmarknadsverket. This new government agency is tasked with implementing central government labour market policy throughout the country.

1949: Vocational guidance recommendation

The specialised UN agency International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopts a vocational guidance recommendation.

1951: 1.2 million jobs are matched

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) economists Gösta Rehn and Rudolf Meidner present the report ”Fackföreningsrörelsen och den fulla sysselsättningen” (The Trade Union Movement and Full Employment) at the LO congress.

The employment offices match 1.2 jobseekers with vacancies.

Paid holiday is extended to three weeks.

1963: Platsjournalen starts being published

The magazine Platsjournalen is launched as a part of the journal Arbetsmarknaden that is published monthly. The magazine has a handful of editorial articles but it primarily consists of job advertisements.

See Platsjournalen throughout the years Pdf, 2 MB.

1964: “Assistance” becomes “insurance”

The compensation from unemployment insurance “daily assistance” (daghjälp) changes its name to “daily allowance” (dagpenning). The change in name is to highlight that this is an insurance policy and not a form of assistance.

The five-day week is introduced.

Young woman with a beehive hairdo next to a radio transmitter.

Britt Hollström was awarded the title Fröken Plats in 1964. She stopped working at Arbetsförmedlingen in Mölndal in 2007.

1970: A bill for a more equal labour market

The first bill to combat gender discrimination in the labour market via legislation was written by the Swedish Liberal Party. The purpose was to speed up development towards a more gender equal labour market.

Mottagningsdisk under en skylt med texten Kundmottagning

Photo from Arbetsförmedlingen in Uppsala in the 1970s.

Skyltfönster med en massa skyltar och lappar

Photo of the window of Arbetsförmedlingen Eslöv-Hörby-Höör when there was a great demand for labour in the early 1970s

1971: District offices with complete service

Arbetsförmedlingen now has 69 district offices that are to offer applicants complete service. Under the district offices there are 166 local offices.

The employment subsidy is introduced so that employers can receive financial compensation for employing a person.

Man i kostym betraktar kvinna som tittar på foldrar

Photo from Arbetsförmedlingen in Skärholmen 1971.

Arbetssökande pratar med arbetsförmedlare vid en disk, under en skylt med texten kundmottagning

Photo from Arbetsförmedlingen in Avesta in the 1970s.

1974: Protection for employees is expanded

  • Potential for in-house training within the company as an alternative to redundancy or termination of employment is introduced on a trial basis. The Employment Protection Act is introduced. The purpose of this act is to provide employees with better protection in the event of redundancy and dismissals. The employment inquiry is appointed, as is the inquiry into vocational rehabilitation.
  • Cash labour market support (Kontant arbetsmarknadsstöd, KAS) is introduced. KAS was paid to unemployed people who were neither a member of an unemployment insurance fund nor entitled to unemployment benefits.
  • The Act concerning certain Measures to Promote Employment is introduced. Employers planning to cut back their operations are now obliged to notify Arbetsförmedlingen if at least five people are at risk of being made redundant (redundancy notice).
  • It becomes possible to register as a jobseeker at the customer reception.

1976: The role of employers becomes increasingly important

  • An act stating that employers have to report vacancies to Arbetsförmedlingen is introduced.
  • Companies that provide additional training to their staff in exchange for the company employing replacements can receive financial support.
  • The national retirement age is lowered to 65 and it becomes possible to choose partial pension.
  • Employer’s contribution is introduced in order to cover some of the costs of employment training.

1980: Coordination of rehabilitation measures

The labour market institutes are established as a part of Arbetsmarknadsverket. The institutes are tasked with coordinating rehabilitation measures.

Samhällsföretag (now known as Samhall AB) is formed.

1995: Arbetsförmedlingen on the internet

The first website is launched. It features the Job Bank, the Jobseekers' Bank, press releases and information about our services, the state of the labour market and the rules of the unemployment insurance funds.

Bild på webbplatsen år 1997.

Photo of the website in 1997.

2003: Customer service by telephone

The customer service centre is opened in Sollefteå so that jobseekers can contact an employment officer over the phone. Over the subsequent years, customer service offices are opened in a further five locations.

2006: Tell us what you think of us

Satisfied or dissatisfied? Customer relations opens and everyone is welcome to let us know what they think of our activities via e-mail or phone.

2008: The government agency Arbetsförmedlingen is formed

Arbetsmarknadsverket is replaced by the new government agency Arbetsförmedlingen. The county employment boards are phased out.

Kvinna i skinnjacka pratar med arbetsförmedlare vid en orange informationsdisk.

Photo from Arbetsförmedlingen’s new premises in Skärholmen 2012.

2010: Introduction programme is introduced

The introduction reform was introduced on 1 December 2010 for the purpose of facilitating the integration of new immigrants in Sweden. When new immigrants receive a residence permit in Sweden they are supposed to find employment as quickly as possible. For this purpose, the introduction programme for new immigrants is launched and managed by Arbetsförmedlingen.

2011: The Job Bank became an app and customer services in other languages opened

The Job Bank app is launched which makes it possible to apply for work directly using a mobile phone. The Job Bank app was phased out in 2020. The online version of the Job Bank has better functionality than the app and is better from an accessibility viewpoint.

The customer service centre in Södertälje opens. Jobseekers who are new immigrants can phone here and talk to employment officers in Arabic, Somali, Persian, Russian and Tigrinya.

Man i hörlurar sitter vid ett skrivbord och ler mot kameran.

Photo of employment officers from Arbetsförmedlingen’s customer service centre in Södertälje 2012.

2012: National customers established

Arbetsförmedlingen initiates partnerships with 26 different national employers. In total, the agreements encompass approximately 1,800 job opportunities and work experience placements.

2014: The service Support and Matching is introduced

Support and Matching is for jobseekers who need enhanced and adapted support to look for work. The aim is to start working or studying as quickly as possible.

The service is delivered by providers that have been procured in accordance with the Act on Systems of Choice (LOV).

2017: Platsjournalen becomes digital

Sweden’s biggest job vacancy magazine, Platsjournalen, changes shape – from paper magazine to newsletter. The demand for paper magazines decreases in general due to new media consumption habits, not least among younger readers. In order to meet expectations, we move to offering articles, job-seeking tips, experts and other inspirational articles in an easily accessible, digital channel. Platsjournalen no longer exists and has been replaced by newsletters that jobseekers can subscribe to via e-mail.

En ipad och en smartphone ligger på tangentbordet på en laptop. Båda visar en sida ur Platsjournalen.

Photo of Platsjournalen on an e-reader and mobile phone.

2019: arbetsformedlingen.se receives an award

arbetsformedlingen.se is awarded Sweden’s best news website by the technology website IDG.

2022: The reformation of Arbetsförmedlingen is completed

In the January 2019 agreement, the Social Democrats, the Center Party, the Liberals and the Green Party agreed that the Swedish Public Employment Service should be fundamentally reformed. On 1 December 2022, the changes in law and regulations that the government and the Riksdag decided on in June entered into force. Thus, the last pieces of the reform puzzle are in place and the conditions are in place for the Arbetsförmedlingen to operate as a reformed authority. The government will follow this up in a special government task that will be final reported in October 2023.

Our Directors General throughout the years

2019 – Maria Mindhammar

2014 – 2019 Mikael Sjöberg

2013 – 2014 Clas Olsson, Acting Director General

2008 – 2013 Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist

2008 – Lena Liljebäck, Acting Director General

2005 – 2008 Bo Bylund

1999 – 2005 Anders L Johansson

1997 – 1999 Bosse Ringholm

1989 – 1997 Göte Bernhardsson

1983 – 1989 Allan Larsson

1973 – 1983 Bertil Rehnberg

1957 – 1973 Bertil Olsson

1948 – 1957 Gustaf Wahlberg