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PRESENTED BY JOBBSPRÅNGET

The fast track to a Swedish career

For skilled workers arriving in Sweden, breaking into the job market can be challenging. Fortunately, there are initiatives that make finding the right role easier.

The fast track to a Swedish career
Pouya Louyeh from Iran completed an internship with Volvo throgh Jobbsprånget. Photo: Supplied

Anuja Dabholkar from India, and Pouya Louyeh, from Iran were recent participants in the  Jobbsprånget program, the Swedish government program designed to assist academics, researchers and skilled workers from outside the EEA in securing jobs across Sweden. 

We spoke to the pair to discuss their experiences, and reflect upon how the program helped them succeed.

7 out of 10 Jobbsprånget participants are offered a job following their placement. Find out why

‘A platform to showcase my skills’: Anuja’s story

Having arrived in Sweden with a postgraduate science degree in Analytical Techniques, Anuja was keen to find employment that both aligned with her qualifications, and also immersed her in Swedish life. 

“After completing my Swedish language course at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), I was looking for opportunities to get into the Swedish job market. That’s when I came across Jobbsprånget.

“Although it was an internship program I thought it would be a good platform for me to learn more about the Swedish job market. I applied through Jobbsprånget’s website and landed my first internship.”

Soon enough, she found herself in a role with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. She continues: “I managed to get an internship at AstraZeneca as a Laboratory Engineer. I had a wonderful experience working there!”

“I learned how to work in a Swedish company, about further job opportunities there and I gained far more experience in the pharmaceutical industry.” 

It wasn’t just workplace skills she gathered. 

“I learned all about the Swedish working culture from my mentors. I came to understand the work-life balance that Swedish culture really values.

“I also improved my Swedish language skills and discovered how ‘fika’ – the traditional break for coffee and cake – is an important part of Swedish work culture!”

Following her experience, Anuja was offered a role at AstraZeneca as a consultant, and is enjoying the challenges that the job provides. Reflecting on her Jobbsprånget experience, she is emphatically positive.

“The program really helped provide a platform to showcase my skills in the pharmaceutical and laboratory fields. I also gained valuable insights into my company’s vision and values.

“Just as important, my experience with the Jobbsprånget program helped me hone my Swedish language skills and build my social network.”

Undertake a supported internship that can turn into a Swedish career. Discover what Jobbsprånget can do for you

Anuja now works at AstraZeneca thanks to her participation in the Jobbsprånget program. Photo: Supplied

‘It all happened very fast!’: Pouya’s experience 

Pouya, an aerospace engineer, told us that he turned to the Jobbsprånget program after his wife obtained a position at a Stockholm university.

“I was accepted to the program at the end of January, and my internship started at the beginning of March. I completed my internship at Volvo in Gothenburg. It all happened very fast!” 

Pouya is enthusiastic about the flexibility and freedom his internship afforded him. 

“I began talking to my manager about future opportunities. I was able to say to my manager, ‘I like this job, but I also need experience in other areas’.

“I didn’t have automotive industry experience, so there was a lot for me to learn. Once I was at Volvo, I started talking to different people in different roles to find out what they were doing, and to discover the best position for me.   

“I was working as a design engineer, so I asked my manager to give me the chance to join other teams as well. He was very supportive and immediately  talked to another manager in the Computer Aided Engineering team, and I was able to gain valuable experience there.”

Pouya was also able to learn about Swedish workplace culture, and help his co-workers understand more of his. 

“I spent a lot of time learning about Swedish culture – particularly over ‘fika’. During these breaks I was able to communicate with everybody on my teams and talk about culture, language and what’s going on in society. I was able to learn about my co-workers, and I could share a bit of myself, too.”

Currently working on one of Volvo’s design teams, Pouya also has overwhelmingly positive reflections on his Jobbsprånget experience. 

“I had a great experience with Jobbsprånget. In some cases, you might not have experience of a particular industry, and this program is ideal in providing that. It helped me immensely and gave me the opportunity to network and make real connections.”

Anuja and some successful Jobbsprånget participants. Photo: Suppled

Pouya gained valuable automotive industry experience during his Jobbsprånget internship. Photo: Supplied

The fast track to a Swedish career

From workplace skills and understanding of new technologies, to the invaluable insights regarding Swedish culture you can only get during a ‘fika’ break, the Jobbsprånget program is an ideal tool for academics, researchers and other skilled workers arriving in Sweden from outside the EU/EEA.

Jobbsprånget’s fixed-term, state-supported internships give those who may otherwise have trouble accessing the Swedish job market the kind of valuable experience and insight that makes them an attractive proposition to local employers. In fact, 70% of Jobbsprånget participants receive a job upon conclusion of their internship.

If you come from outside the EU/EEA, have a college degree in engineering, IT, architecture, business, communication, HR or science, as well as hold a valid Swedish work permit, you could be eligible for the program. 

Currently, there is an additional program focused at Ukrainian refugees, that can be applied for separately. 

Following completion of an online application, an interview will begin your path to an exciting opportunity in a Swedish workplace if an employer is interested in your profile. Many applicants find a position with an employer shortly afterwards, and some are working within two months.

With the next application period commencing July 16, now is the ideal time to consider Jobbsprånget as your springboard to a career in Sweden.

Take part in the program connecting employers and newcomer professionals – apply at the Jobbsprånget website commencing July 16 

For members

WORKING IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: Can you negotiate a pay rise in Sweden to offset inflation?

With Sweden's central bank expecting inflation of nearly 8% this year, everyone working in the country is in line for a real-terms pay cut. We asked Gunilla Krieg, central ombudsman at the Unionen union, what scope there is to negotiate a salary hike to compensate.

EXPLAINED: Can you negotiate a pay rise in Sweden to offset inflation?

With Sweden’s central bank expecting inflation of nearly 8% this year, everyone working in the country is in line for a real-terms pay cut. We asked Gunilla Krieg, central ombudsman at the Unionen union, what scope there is to negotiate a salary hike to compensate.

How soon can I get a pay rise to compensate for high inflation? 

Probably not for a while. 

About 90 percent of workers in Sweden are covered by the collective bargaining agreements made between employers and the country’s trade unions. The last round of salary deals was negotiated at the union-employer level back in 2020, and most of them will remain valid until March or April next year.

This means that most employees in Sweden will not see their salaries adjusted to take inflation into account for at least nine months. 

“Under this special model that we have, we already have a level for the wage increases for this year, so you can’t get compensation for the inflation right now,” Krieg explained. 

You might be able negotiate a pay rise in addition to what the unions have agreed in your personal salary review, she added. 

“Of course, you have that freedom. Whether you work in a small company, or a big company, a company that has a collective agreement, or one that doesn’t, you always have the freedom to ask for a salary rise,” Krieg said. 

The only issue is that most unionised companies only offer personal salary reviews once a year, and for the majority of employees, the window of opportunity passed in the spring. 

“You have to find out when you have a salary review as part of the collective agreement you have at your own workplace,” Krieg recommended. “For most collective agreements, that is in the spring, although some collective agreements have it in the autumn.” 

What if I’m not part of a union? 

If you are among the 10% of workers not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you can ask for a pay rise whenever you like, but unlike union members, you have no right to a pay rise. The decision is wholly up to your employer. 

Gunilla Krief is the central ombudsman for the Unionen union. Photo: Patrik Nygren/Unionen

So will the unions eventually negotiate above-inflation pay increases? 

Probably not. 

Unions in Sweden have historically been quite responsible, and understood the risk of creating a wage-price spiral by demanding wage increases that match or exceed inflation.

“Twenty-five years ago, we had a really high wage increases in Sweden, and we had very, very big inflation, so people got more money in their wallets, but they couldn’t buy anything, because inflation went up much higher than wages,” Krieg explained, putting the union perspective.

“We always take responsibility for the entire labour market, and that’s good in the long term,” she added. “There’s been much more money in the wallet for employees in Sweden over the past 25 years. That’s why we think we should we should not panic because of inflation. It may be that for one year it will mean less money in the wallet, but in the long run we benefit.” 

Can I argue for an inflation-busting pay rise in my salary review? 

You can certainly argue for a pay rise of 8 percent, or even more, but you don’t cite inflation as a reason for it. 

“Everything is individual, so you can, of course, negotiate up your salary, and there is no limit to how much you can ask for,” Krieg explained.

“If you have a job or an education for which there’s a shortage on the Swedish market, then you can get a much higher wage increase. Up in the north of Sweden, where we have [the battery manufacturer] Northvolt, and we have mines and the steel industry, they are looking for a lot of competence right now, and there you can have a much higher rise in wages.” 

But, particularly if you’re covered by collective bargaining, you can’t really cite inflation as justification, as that is one of the factors that unions and employers are supposed to factor in during their negotiations. 

What’s the best way of getting a big pay rise? 

The best way to get a pay hike of as much as 5,000 kronor or 10,000 kronor a month, Krieg suggests, is to apply for other jobs, even if you don’t end up taking them. 

“You can get offers from other companies, and then you can tell your employer that ‘I really liked it here, I enjoy this work, and I want to stay here, but now they are offering me 10,000 kronor more at another company, and if you can raise my salary like that,  of course I will stay here’,” she said.

In a normal salary interview, she adds, it’s important to be able to demonstrate your results. Look again at your job description, and what your goals are for the year, and identify concrete achievements that meet or exceed these goals. If you have any additional duties, you can cite them to argue for a higher salary. If you’ve done any courses, or learned any skills, you can cite these. 

At any time in the year, if your superiors praise any work you have done, keep those emails, or write it down, so that in your salary review, you can say, “you said that this report I did was ‘the best you’ve ever seen’,” or such like. 

Finally, you should find out in advance if there are any salary criteria being applied, so that you can argue that you exceed them, and so demand a higher raise than that agreed for the company as a whole with the union. 

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