What’s taking so long?

We asked a local expert to explain why finding employment in certain industries in Sweden can be a slow process right now and to suggest what job seekers can do to boost their prospects in the interim.

Careful selection

“In a fast-moving recruitment culture like the US, you can be hired quickly. On the flipside you can also be fired quickly. In Sweden it’s very different. The labour market laws are very strict when it comes to protecting the rights of employees. This means companies will take their time to make sure they hire the right person. It can be a long, tedious process,” says coach Gunilla Julin. “Patience is often required, even if you are applying for a role that you are very well qualified for.”

Hot and cold

“Of course, like anywhere, recruitment in some sectors is more active. Right now, the IT sector is ‘hot’ with many opportunities. However, Sweden is also in a recession and suffering high inflation. The economy is under a lot of strain, which has impacted prospects for jobseekers in other industries,” says Gunilla.

A numbers game

“Sweden is a very international country and most Swedes speak a high level of English. This is great for day-to-day life for newcomers. However, when you don’t  speak Swedish, you will be limited to a smaller number of job opportunities in the international sector. Unfortunately Swedish is a complicated language and not so easy to learn.”

Networking is key

“I always remind expat partners coming to Sweden that networking is vital for their job search. HR teams will often seek out employees using their own database and networks. LinkedIn is a huge resource and it’s a very valuable tool. I’d advise newcomers to attend in-person events, too. Generally speaking, Sweden offers great support to help newcomers integrate into society. Networking will also benefit your general integration and well-being.”

Stay open-minded

“Even if finding full-time paid employment remains your ultimate goal, there are often other opportunities, such as volunteering roles or part-time jobs. In Sweden, it’s also very cheap to go to university, so if you can’t find work, you could consider higher education. it might not be your ideal plan but sometimes you have to change track or identify a pathway into another industry. Studying can be a way to make yourself more employable, whether that’s in Sweden or your next destination.”

Photo: Thinkstock

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