Finding work in Sweden

A very good web site to begin to check out The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

Many of you will complete your studies in Sweden and then move on to work in your home country or in other attractive labour markets, like the States or Australia.

Some of you will chose to stay, to find work, to build a life here in Sweden.  But how should you go about doing this?  Why should you?  The benefits are of course a high standard of living, good social welfare and excellent working conditions.  Not to mention continuing education and training during working hours paid for by the employer. Sweden is also a technically advanced country and is, in general, in need of engineers, people in IT, biometrics and the like.

Since all of you are currently studying here at the expense of the Swedish tax payer, it would seem to be reasonable that you and your education would be desirable here in the Swedish labour markets.  But life isn’t always that simple.

What to do!
  • Check out the links given on this web site.  There is a lot of good information out there.
  • Work on building up a contact network. Start with your professors and fellow-Swedish students, and anyone else you can think of.  
  • Get out into the community! Join student and Chalmerists activities.
  • Explore Working in Sweden - the official gateway to Sweden where you find loads of relevant information about living and working in Sweden.
  • Collect information about companies that you are interested in. There is a lot of data bases on the web where you can sort after type of business or/and region, for example: Företagsfakta, and Eniro (Yellow Pages). Check also the list Foreign-owned Companies in the Göteborg Region (p. 14).
  • Start learning to speak Swedish! Folkuniversitetet offer Swedish courses in Göteborg and Swedish Institute distance courses on the web. (Notice that Chalmers offers free Swedish language courses to international students who pay tuition fees.)
  • Work on getting your resume in great shape – check out the available links.
  • Make sure you read The LocalGöteborg Daily and Misi (Swedish news and articles in English) and follow developments around Sweden.  
  • Post your resume on all the Swedish job sites. 
  • Apply for jobs in Ny Teknik Jobb. Get a Swedish-speaking friend to help you out. Follow up specific job applications with a phone call!
Remember that getting an interview is the hardest part. If you do manage to get one, then make sure you are armed to the teeth with information about the company and the position. Practise for the interview. For more information see the left hand menu under "Interviews".

There are some barriers in your way
  • You need to find a job before you can get a work visa. This means a problem for the employer. But if they want you, it isn’t much of a problem, and in general, visas are granted at the employer’s request.
  • You need good contacts and a useful network. 60-70% of  jobs are filled by knowing someone – not being related, however, but as a contact.
  • Swedish…can you speak the lingo? English speaking employees are acceptable when they are researchers at University, at research intensive companies like AstraZeneca, or when they are expatriates, imported in directly to Ericsson and Volvo. Otherwise it is hard to work with someone who can’t speak the local language, no matter how good Swedes are supposed to be at English.  This shouldn’t surprise you…it is the same in most countries, excepting those who must import a large number of educated employees.  
  • Good social welfare and high standards of living create a barrier…it is attractive to get in to the workplace, employees are expensive to maintain and they are hard to get rid of…so the incentive to hire is low and the process is long and careful.
Summing it up
Finding work in Sweden as a foreigner is difficult. This is actually true of most countries, regardless of what you might wish to believe.  As a well-educated Chalmerist you have the best chance if anybody, but it is largely dependant on demand in the workplace.  Work on your contacts, work on your resume and apply for lots of jobs! 

Good Luck!

Published: Mon 08 Nov 2010. Modified: Wed 25 Jan 2012