Seven things to consider before switching jobs in Sweden
For expats in Sweden, finding a job to begin with can be a challenge in itself. So leaving your stable job to scout the job market might seem like a terrifying prospect. However, scary as it is, it’s not impossible...
If you’re fed up of the daily grind and desperate to try something new, go ahead and trust your gut. But there are certain things you should keep in mind before taking the plunge. Presenting The Local’s top seven things to consider if you want a stress-free change of job or career in Sweden.
1. Ask yourself why you want a change
First of all, you should take stock of why you want to change jobs. Has your current job not lived up to your expectations? Is it because you want to try something new after years of sitting at the same desk and drinking from the same cup? Or have you outgrown your role with no chance of progression?
Ask yourself what you need from a job or a company to feel fulfilled. What would this new career bring you professionally or personally? Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, you’ll be in a better position to know whether jumping ship really is the right decision.
2. Are you financially stable enough to make the switch?
A career change will, without a doubt, affect everything in your life -- not least your financial situation. While the period between jobs may just be temporary, you still need to ensure you have enough money to cover your outgoings.
If you’re a member of the unemployment insurance fund Akademikernas a-kassa, you qualify for benefits even if it was your decision to leave your job. Just be aware that there is a seven-day suspension period before you can claim if you were made redundant while the wait is nine weeks if you chose to resign. But after that, the compensation period is still 300 days -- more than enough time to consider your next move. The same applies if your employer isn’t happy with your performance during your probationary period (provanställning in Swedish). You will usually get a two week notice and be able to claim your benefits after that.
3. What are your options?
Research your dream job and assess the necessary steps to take that will make a suitable candidate. Would you have to relocate? Or perhaps you’d need to take a course in order to learn some new skills?
While claiming benefits from Akademikernas a-kassa, a fund specifically for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, you can begin to explore your topic of interest; however, there are certain conditions. You can study part-time for 20 weeks under certain conditions, or you could take a two-week long short course to strengthen your skills.
Ultimately, the time will come when you need to find a new job. Your first step is to get in line at your local job agency, arbetsförmedlingen. The Swedish Public Employment Service will help you navigate the Swedish job market, giving you resources to find a suitable position.
If you want to job hunt online (because no one likes to queue -- even in Sweden with its efficient ticketing system), there are several websites listing English-speaking jobs in Sweden such as The Local’s job board, Indeed, or Linkedin. Make sure your CV is in good shape before sending it along with your cover letter directly through the jobs board. It’s that easy.
4. Could a Union help?
Joining a union might be frowned upon in certain countries, but in Sweden -- where around 70 percent of all employees are unionists -- it’s the done thing. There are many benefits to joining a union including access to help relating to career guidance, salary negotiations, professional advice on how to boost your career or helping you solve difficulties in the workplace.
5. How long is your notice period?
If you’ve decided to leave your job and simply can’t wait to plan your next venture, you might have to hold off for a few weeks (or even months). Take a look at your contract to see how long your notice period (uppsägningstid) is before booking on to any courses or making any immediate decisions. Notice periods in Sweden typically vary from one to six months depending on the duration of your employment; however, it can be negotiated with your employer. This is precisely the time being a member of a trade union may come in handy!
6. Do you just need a break?
If you decide to take a leave of absence, or tjänstledighet in Swedish, you are able to take some time off (usually without pay, unfortunately) while keeping your employment status and job security. Of course, this can only be taken under certain conditions. Not if you want to climb Mount Everest, sorry.
Leaves of absence have different purposes, but if you want to explore a new path, this could be your chance. You could, for instance, take time out for educational purposes if you wish to pursue a higher position at your company in the future. In this case, a leave of up to six months can be taken (still unpaid -- nice try, though).
7. Do you want to start your own business?
Itching to start work on your new business idea? Becoming your own boss might be an excellent prospect, but it can also be financially risky. Fortunately, Sweden is a very entrepreneur-friendly country -- since 1998, employees have had the right to take a leave of up to six months to start their own business provided it doesn’t compete with their current employer.
If you want to start a business in Sweden, you should begin by formulating your business plan and studying the market. Once your research is done and dusted, select the type of company you would like to set up at Skatteverket, the Swedish tax agency. Different types of company are subject to different rules, so pick wisely. Then you’re ready to start your new adventure. Lycka till!
This content was produced by The Local’s Creative Studio and sponsored by Akademikernas a-kassa.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.