Steel industry’s important role in society
The steel industry’s significance for our prosperity and welfare cannot be emphasized enough. The steel industry’s products also play a crucial role in the development of the sustainable society (one that ensures the health and vitality of human life and nature). Competitive steel companies generate employment, export earnings, tax revenues and innovations.
The steel industry generates prosperity and welfare
At present, Sweden’s steel industry employs about 44,600 persons in Sweden (2023); partly in the steel companies themselves and partly in different supplier companies.
The steel industry generates substantial export earning and tax revenues. The export earnings contribute directly to GNP and the tax revenues help, in different ways, to fund investments in public services. The importance of the steel industry, along with other Swedish export industries, cannot be emphasized enough.
The film below gives an example of the steel industry’s contribution to social development, the environmental benefits of steel and the far-reaching use of steel in many forms in our daily lives.
Strengthening competitiveness is vital
The steel industry has to compete in a global marketplace. In this context, Swedish steel companies are world leaders within several different market niches with their advanced steels, but the competition is intense nonetheless.
Read more about the world leading steel companies
A number of different factors affect the competitive position of the steel companies. Input goods such as iron ore, scrap metal, alloying elements and energy must all be available on favourable terms and at competitive prices. The operating conditions for the steel companies including taxes and charges, the availability of researchers and highly educated personnel etc must be comparable with those of their competitors.
Once these basic conditions are satisfied, it is a question of operating at the leading edge in terms of e.g. research, innovation, marketing and competence development. Another key factor is proximity to the markets – this means that efficient transport operators and infrastructure are of the greatest importance.
All Swedish steel companies today are international, many operate globally, and a series of factors are influential in determining whether a group management will make its next investment in Sweden – or in some other country. It is, therefore, extremely important that the Swedish government constantly evaluates how political decisions affect the competitiveness of the companies; ensuring always that this competitiveness is retained or strengthened.
This is how the industry accelerates growth
Industry is the engine of the Swedish economy. Through the right reforms, industry can continue to create values that benefit society as a whole. At the same time, the conditions of the industry are changing, and even though Swedish companies have often come a long way in development, the policy must be developed together with the industry if the journey of change is to be a Swedish success story.
Jernkontoret and thirteen other organizations, which together represent the entire Swedish industry, presented a joint report in the autumn of 2020, The Industry's agenda for reform: This is how the industry accelerates growth (published in Swedish). The agenda consists of twelve areas for reform, which together aim for change for better conditions for growth and competitiveness. The goal of the reform is that Sweden once again will be ranked as one of the world's five most competitive countries by 2025.
In September 2021, a follow-up report was presented, The Industry's agenda for reform: We lead the sustainable transformation (published in Swedish), in which the industry's organizations take a step further and show how Swedish industry, under the right conditions, can lead the sustainable transformation and strengthen industry competitiveness in the long term.
Learn more: industrinsreformagenda.se (Website in Swedish)