Making it in Sweden: an Irishman at an NGO

Shane Quinn is one of around 1,500 Irish-born people living in Sweden. He tells us how he found his niche here.


Shane Quinn



Where do you live?

Södermalm, Stockholm.

Where are you from originally?

Dublin, Ireland.

What do you do?

I work at a peace research NGO.

What was your first job in Sweden?


What brought you to Sweden and when did you come?

Love and a masters degree. I came briefly in 1996, but came to live in 1999.

What did you do before coming to Sweden?

I left Ireland in 1992 and moved to Paris. I then went back to Dublin to do an undergraduate degree in 1996 and did all sorts of different jobs to get by, including working as a tour guide and in conference management.

How did you find your first job in Sweden?

I walked in off the street, and asked “got any jobs?”

What’s the best thing about working in Sweden?

Paternity leave and flexibility: being able to pick up your kids early from nursery without feeling like a pariah, generally see a return on your taxes (but they’re still too high!).

What’s the worst thing about working in Sweden?

Low salaries, the lack of an understanding for an effective bonus system. It’s incredibly difficult to dismiss incompetent and under-performing people, there’s no Swedish word for “impunity” and there’s too much emphasis on the collective (some things will never change!)

Do you speak Swedish at work?


Do you speak any other languages at work?

English and French

Jobs in Sweden