• Sweden's news in English
The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated.
Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.
  Reply to this topic

Starting a life in Sweden...

...answers needed...

post 27.Apr.2014, 03:38 AM
Post #1
Joined: 27.Apr.2014

Well, the title is self-explanatory, and similar to a lot of other posts I have seen on this forum, but I wanted to get some answers for my case specifically, so any answers are more than welcome. smile.gif

First off, I am a recent college graduate from Croatia, and have a master's degree in civil engineering - hydrotechnics to be more precise ( dams, spillways, hydro power plants, water supply and sewerage, maritime structures, river structures, etc.). Rather fluent in english but can't bark a single letter in swedish. tongue.gif

Croatia's economy and unemployment rates are disastrous, and I have been on the unemployment list for more than half a year. Even though our government had some projects for getting recent graduates jobs, it is so lame and unjust I don't even want to explain it.

After getting informed about working abroad for a bit, I got the notion that Sweden, along with Norway is one of the counties where almost everyone speaks fluent english, so I got to thinking about moving there and really starting my life.

So here's my list of questions:
1.) what are the realistic chances of me getting a job and position I studied for?
2.) what's the average pay for my field, and how can I expect it to rise with experience?
3.) already made a profile at EURES, but can you recommend any recruitment agencies which specialize in finding jobs in my field, of course for foreigners ( from EU, as Croatia is a recent member)?

I already sent my application for recognition of education, and guess I will get it, so my diploma will have the same worth as if I studied in Sweden. Also, I am thinking of living there long-term and starting a family, so learning swedish is a completely acceptable and reasonable concept for me.

And to finish off, I have a girlfriend, who will soon have a master's in theology (protestant), and already has a bachelor's (economy - tourism ) so if You could answer the above questions for her case as well, that would be really great.

Thanks in advance!
Go to the top of the page
post 27.Apr.2014, 08:27 AM
Post #2
Joined: 3.Dec.2010

Learn Swedish before making any move. Otherwise it is a waste of time and money.

And enjoy the weather down in Croatia while you can. GL!
Go to the top of the page
post 27.Apr.2014, 09:10 AM
Post #3
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

I would aim for the UK, you have the language advantage over Sweden, as long as your work related technical English is up to speed. Because of the recent floods in the UK, the forthcoming elections and vote chasing, there is likely to be some extra spending on hydro related projects. Once you have employment and a growing CV you'll be in a better position to explore options here. Also as is usually the case, you never know what other doors or networks will open up either, as companies like Skanska have a big UK operation too.
Go to the top of the page
post 27.Apr.2014, 07:13 PM
Post #4
Joined: 27.Apr.2014

Well, thanks for the input but that doesn't really answer my questions.. sad.gif

Is there anyone with relevant information here, or maybe even working in the same sector?
Go to the top of the page
post 27.Apr.2014, 08:00 PM
Post #5
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 1.Jan.2014

1. Have you actually seen any jobs advertised that require your skills and are new opening rather than asking for experience?

2. The pay gap between new-entrants into a field and experienced in a field, on average, in Sweden is quite small, in fact it is the smallest gap in the world!!! This is why it is difficult for anyone to get into entry level jobs that require certain qualifications, because for a few percentage points more in budget the employer can get an experienced person.

3. 80% of jobs in Sweden are never advertised. Just as in the majority of countries in the world they are filled by networking. So the answer to this is No.
Go to the top of the page
post 27.Apr.2014, 09:34 PM
Post #6
Location: Södermanland
Joined: 17.Jan.2011

Is this the area you want to work in:

If yes I suggest you join that group and look for other networking opportunities such as on LinkedIn etc. Start googling your way to a a job.
Go to the top of the page
post 28.Apr.2014, 08:14 AM
Post #7
Joined: 27.Apr.2014


Yes, indeed there were job listings that fall into my category, not necessarily hydrotechincs, but still civil engineering. But my question wasn't really meant like the question "are there jobs for me?", but rather like"what is the mentality of the swedish employer, in the sense of his willingness to employ an english-speaking Croatian who needs to move into the country instead of a swedish speaking Swede?" Something like that... wink.gif


And yes, that is the exact same area, thanks for the link, I'll be sure to send them an e-mail.
Go to the top of the page
post 28.Apr.2014, 09:10 AM
Post #8
Joined: 7.Oct.2013

QUOTE (Borishyd @ 28.Apr.2014, 07:14 AM) *
but rather like"what is the mentality of the swedish employer, in the sense of his willingness to employ an english-speaking Croatian who needs to move into the country i ... (show full quote)

On the whole, there is no such willingness. But what you are asking is way too vague. The only thing standing between you and having an answer to your question is sending out 100 job applications.

I can tell you that, like many people from new-EU members, you probably have a way too idealized image of the job market in Sweden. You are not one e-mail or one forum discussion away from a job, it's gonna take a lot of effort to dig something up. But good luck in any case.
Go to the top of the page
yorkie redux
post 28.Apr.2014, 01:45 PM
Post #9
Joined: 12.Jan.2014

If you are not Swedish, then I would suggest:

Chances of finding a job = negligible
Chances of being happy in Sweden = negligible

It's a nice place to come for a holiday, but underneath you'll find that grey, dull, uniformity of life very quickly gets depressing in Sweden.

I would suggest that you try the UK, where there are plenty of opportunities and more of a meritocratic approach in the job market.
Go to the top of the page
post 28.Apr.2014, 08:26 PM
Post #10
Joined: 16.Aug.2010

So much bitterness...

In truth, the chances of you getting work without speaking Swedish and having no work experience depend on the field. If there is a shortage of skilled employees in your field you might be in luck, otherwise they will always employ someone with experience first and who speaks Swedish secondly over you.

You would be better off applying for jobs in English speaking countries.
Go to the top of the page
post 28.Apr.2014, 10:48 PM
Post #11
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 1.Jan.2014

QUOTE (Opalnera @ 28.Apr.2014, 08:26 PM) *
If there is a shortage of skilled employees in your field you might be in luck, otherwise they will always employ someone with experience first and who speaks Swedish secondly over you.

The very fact that any position is advertised is normally an indication of either a corporate policy or if less than 10 days old then they already have a candidate and are placing the ad for work permit purposes or they actually cannot find someone within the network. As said earlier, Sweden is the same as every other country, even UK and USA, in the fact that only approx. 15-20% of positions are ever advertised. Sweden is tougher to get into for the pure fact that it is a smaller total work-force.

Whilst you may believe that your qualification once accredited will be the same as if you had studied in Sweden, remember that that is a "technically the same". Perception and feeling is everything, even within the same country (not just Sweden) a qualification from one institute has a different "value" than from another institute. Even the year of completion from the same institute can make a difference to "value". (e.g. many employers in the UK now feel todays degrees are less value than those from 10 years ago, they believe institutions have marked up results in order to attract more fee paying students and research grants!).

Can you get a job in Sweden...You are 1 person, how many people in the whole of Europe that have the same qualification(s) or better, or experience, that also are willing to leave their place of residence (and in Sweden already) are going to apply for the same position? The question should be turned around ...Can you sell yourself, why should a Swedish employer employ you? What will you bring to their bottom line? How are you the number 1 candidate? ...if you cannot sell yourself, then it won't matter which country you go to. Right now it is dog-eat-dog and an Employers market.

Finally, and it cannot be stated loud enough ...for ALL those looking for work ... Qualifications mentioned in the job advertisement are a filter for applicants, it tells the employer that you have a certain level of understanding and in the right field, but it does NOT mean you are the best candidate for the job. An interviewers job is to see if you have the right personality, they have to decide if not only are you right for the company, but also, is the company right for you!
Go to the top of the page
post 29.Apr.2014, 06:36 AM
Post #12
Joined: 8.Aug.2012

QUOTE (Opalnera @ 28.Apr.2014, 08:26 PM) *
So much bitterness...In truth, the chances of you getting work without speaking Swedish and having no work experience depend on the field. If there is a shortage of skilled e ... (show full quote)

'So much bitterness' and then 'but you're right'..?
Go to the top of the page

Reply to this topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:


PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options