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PRESENTED BY JOBBSPRÅNGET

Your best route to cracking the Swedish job market in 2022

Telish Telish, an Indian engineer, came to Sweden in 2018, but, like many newcomers, found the job market a tough nut to crack. “I was so fed-up. It was July 2020, and I had applied for more than 850 jobs in two years with no luck,” she says. “I told my husband that if I didn’t get some work by November, then I would go back to India.” 

Your best route to cracking the Swedish job market in 2022
Indian engineer Telish, who works at IKEA

Numan Oksas, a software engineer from Turkey who moved to Sweden to join his mother and father, felt similarly marooned. “When I came to Sweden in early 2020, I was a fish out of water,” he says. “My educational background seemed to make no difference. I was a janitor, a waiter, a lot of those kinds of jobs. It was dark, cold and I was depressed. I just stayed at home, ate, watched TV, did nothing. I couldn’t network because of the pandemic. I just thought, ‘why did I come here?’”

Sweden has often been described as one of the toughest job markets for newcomers to negotiate. It’s not unusual for international arrivals to take years to nail down a job. Telish and Numan’s experiences are sadly not rare. But now Telish is a product requirement engineer at IKEA, and Numan is a quality assurance software engineer at Telia. 

Solving the Swedish jobs riddle

So what changed? How did they figure out that ultimate Swedish riddle – the newcomers’ job market?

Their secret is that they enrolled with Jobbsprånget, a nationwide government-sponsored programme that offers internships to university-educated newcomers in Sweden. The internships are for four months, with 60 percent of those who successfully complete an internship ending up in employment (the figure was actually 70 percent before the pandemic). 

Need a job in Sweden? Find out how to apply for Jobbsprånget’s next round of internships – now open until January 16

Numan, who lives in Gothenburg, found Jobbsprånget when he was trawling the internet looking for tips on how to network. “I was researching how to network in Sweden. ‘How do I find the right people, how do I find jobs? Should I study more, should I try the labour market again?’ I was pretty dispirited. But then Jobbsprånget popped up. A lot of networking platforms offer connections to people in the labour market for advice or mentorship, but only Jobbsprånget offered something concrete – chances to apply for internships.”

But, as Numan confirms, it doesn’t just offer any old internships.

Through Jobbsprånget I applied for 20 internships and got one with Telia,” he says. “They didn’t treat me as your typical intern. They gave me assignments to work on and I really felt as though I was a valuable member of the team. It was real work. Not just making coffee and fetching lunch. These are proper internships. Even if you have ten years of experience, you’re going to be given real work that pushes you.”

Kick-start your Swedish career with Jobbsprånget – find out how you can apply between December 16th and January 16th

Numan Oksas works at Telia following his internship

Jobbsprånget is targeted at English-speaking, non-European graduates looking for work in Sweden and offers a fast-track route to accessing career paths that had seemed blocked. The programme is in English so if you haven’t mastered Swedish yet, don’t worry. But it is essential that you have a degree in engineering, architecture, science or business, and that you’re registered at Sweden’s Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen). 

It’s targeted at people born outside Europe and the EU in order to follow Arbetsförmedlingen’s rules for internships. If you have any queries about your eligibility to participate, you can find out more about the requirements here

‘I’m not a person who will just sit at home’

Telish’s self-esteem was particularly bruised by the lack of action on the job front after first arriving in Sweden with high hopes.

“I was a production planning engineer for Yokohama Tyres in India,” she says. “It was a good job and I was good at it. But then I moved to Älmhult in southern Sweden with my husband who had a job with IKEA. All my friends thought it would be easy for me to get a job with my experience. But it was not. It was frustrating and depressing because I’m not a person who will just sit at home and do house chores. I need mental stimulation.”

She was worried at first that Jobbsprånget would only offer IT internships. “But it didn’t,” she says. “That was so refreshing. There were plenty of opportunities for non-IT applicants. It’s also great that it’s all in English. I’ve tried to learn Swedish but it’s quite a difficult language. I am 50 to 70 percent there, but it’s great that the Jobbsprånget platform is in English.”

Telish applied for several internships including Volvo and Tetra Pak and was taken on by IKEA. “I had some good experience in planning, and I used this skill regularly during the internship,” she says. “I also had some ideas to reuse and to recycle stuff that they really liked because the whole company is now geared to sustainability. It was a good match.”

Numan believes Jobbsprånget has changed his life in Sweden for the better. “Jobbsprånget really helped me a lot,” he says. “It gave me the tools I needed to find work, and the work itself improved my skills. Jobbsprånget showed me the road ahead.”

Ready to find a Swedish job in 2022? Jobbsprånget has just two application periods per year and the current one closes on January 16th – find out more now

Member comments

  1. Well after trying to register it seems its only for Non-Eu Uni graduates. So nope not useful. As with most funding and support doesnt apply to us forgotten experienced adult Eu Uni graduates with over a decade of experience.

    Not to mention our qualifications dont stand for much unless we are professors, healthcare staff, IT or engineers who speak English then language is secondary.

    Our Swedish even if its SFI level C3 never really allows us to be hired as professionals since our level is not fluent enough, and thats assuming everyone is capable of learning a foreign 3rd or 4th new language at over 30 years old. So nope. Nope SFI C3 gets you a manual job definitely not in your feel and demoralising.

    The EU Uni bunch get forgotten unless they manage to randomly find a lucrative job in a expensive city for English speaker or become self employed and pay 50 percent in tax and social insurance and that lucrative job is only feasible if they can afford the high rent in a big city but most of us are mature adults with families..anyway so yes not useful at all.

    But heck I can always go to the job center and learn to write a CV all over again like Im in high school. Useful!

    Oh wait but in other EU countries we welcome and embrace foreign staff of many languages and calibers to help prosperity and diversity and inclusion especially in English speaking ex colonies or tourist regions or business capitals.

    Such a shame to waste talent.

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MY SWEDISH CAREER

My Swedish Career: How labour market training got me a job at Capgemini

Two years after she arrived in Sweden, Shreya Sai, from India, decided to use Sweden's 'labour market training' system to learn to code from scratch. A year later she was working as a developer at Capgemini.

My Swedish Career: How labour market training got me a job at Capgemini

Sai moved to Älmhult, the small town that hosts Ikea’s headquarters, back at the start of 2019, after her husband got a job working for the flatpack furniture giant.

She is a qualified physiotherapist and had spent two years practicing back home in India. But it didn’t take long for her to realise that it would be difficult to work in Sweden in her chosen profession, given the difficulty of getting a license to practice. 

“After coming over here, I saw that there were so many hurdles in medical fields, and it was a very long procedure of almost four years [to convert],” she says. 

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She worked as a substitute teacher, but after almost two years in Sweden, her handler at the Swedish Public Employment Services suggested she retrain. 

“I had a chat with my case officer. And I told her about my problems, the language barrier, and how, in the past, I had studied something related to IT, so that’s why she suggested I go for these certifications.” 

The case officer enrolled Sai on a six-month full stack developer course at Lexicon, an education supplier in nearby Växjö. It was a tough few months, but Sai didn’t lose hope. She completed the course in February 2021, and then started as an intern at a Stockholm startup the next month. 

“It was really tough for me initially, but anyhow, I grabbed some momentum and started understanding coding,” she remembers. “It’s so tough to be a coder, and it is the purest pressure in my whole training time, because I didn’t know anything about coding. All types of coding were alien to me.”  She had last studied computers when she was at upper secondary school.

The Covid-19 pandemic was still ongoing, so both the course and the internship were done through remote learning, but that did not stop her from getting a four-month contact as a web developer with a heating technologies company upon graduation.

Then in February this year, she started a permanent contract at Capgemini, after being hired through their Ignite graduate program. 

Sai believes that the Public Employment Service’s labour market training courses are a good option for newcomers to Sweden, with some 400 courses on offer, mostly provided by private sector suppliers such as Lexicon, Lernia, or AU utbildning. 

 You can see a full list of available courses here. And here is some information on going on a study visit.

“You choose which field you want to belong to, and when you choose, they give you some type of study visits,” she says. “And then you go and explore and receive information, and then your case officer enrolls you if there is a vacancy after a short interview.”

In May, the employment service reported that 20,210 people had undertaken labour market training in 2021, and that there were currently 40,000 people either awaiting a decision or engaged in labour market training. 

The program is expensive, costing Sweden’s government 1.5 billion kronor in 2021, but according to the report, 43.7 percent of those who took courses were working 180 days after their course was completed, and 36.2 percent were working 90 days after the training finished. 

While studying, you still qualify for unemployment benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Sai says that there were people on her coding course from Ireland, Israel, Iran, Sweden and Poland, among other countries, and that only about 20 percent had a direct background in IT, with the rest having had careers in other fields.

She was the only one in the class with absolutely zero experience with computers or coding, however. 

“It was very, very, very hard for me. I was like, ‘I will quit it. I won’t be able to do it.’ But my family supported me a lot. And they said, ‘you have to do it, you can’t back out because you can you don’t have any other option'”.

She lacked the qualifications, she says, to do a less intensive computer programming course at a university, and lacked the qualifications needed for other jobs in Sweden. 

“I used to like studying day and night, and somehow, I managed it. Right now, I will not say that I’m the best or a perfect coder in today’s world, but I’m working towards becoming a good coder.” 

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