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Country ProfileProfessional Resources  |  Job Search Resources  |  Financial Considerations  |  Employment Trends
Resume/CV's  |  Information Technology  |  Interviewing Advice  Engineering  |  Work Permits
Accounting & Finance  |   Cultural Advice  |   Sales & Marketing  |    General Business


Country Profile
Once a stalwart military power, Sweden has not fought any wars for
almost two hundred years, remaining neutral throughout World War I and World War II. In recent years, high unemployment, rising maintenance costs and declining international economic power has undermined the nation's extensive, long-successful social welfare system. State benefits, supported by hefty personal taxes, include childcare, education, health care, and generous pension plans. Although it rejected incorporation of the euro monetary system in 1999, Sweden joined the European Union (EU) in 1995 and now has 22 representatives in the EU parliament.

Sweden is known for its bodies of water; dozens of lakes dot the
countryside, and artic waters, including the Baltic Sea, border about half of the country. With 15 percent of its land mass located north of the polar circle, Sweden's climate is subarctic in the north and more
temperate in the south, with cold winters and cool summers. Sweden
maintains a 99 percent literacy rate, as well as one of the highest life
expectancies and one of the lowest birth rates in the world. About
one-eighth of the 8.8 million residents is foreign-born, including
immigrants from Finland, Norway, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

The Kingdom of Sweden (Konungariket Sverige) is a limited constitutional
monarchy with a parliamentary system. The country's democratic
government is led by a parliament elected every four years, and an
executive government, with a prime minister and advisory ministers. In
the last century, Sweden has used its extensive forests, rich iron ore
deposits, and hydroelectric power to become a leading producing and
exporting nation.

Professional Resources
The Swedish government has established agencies such as Invest in
Sweden to assist foreign companies considering business operations
in Sweden. These organizations provide information including
economic data, business contacts, and other business support
services. City chambers of commerce are also important resources
for job-seekers. The Konjunkturinstitutet (National Institute of
Economic Research) is a government organization with valuable
information on economic forecasting and business surveys.

Historically, Swedish trade union movements have often been linked
to the nation's political parties, resulting in labor agreements
internationally known as "the Swedish model." There are two major
trade union organizations in Sweden, the LO and the TCO,
representing over 3 million workers (82 percent of the nation's labor
force). The movement maintains a great amount of political influence,
and over Swedish society as a whole. The national trade union
organizations (LO and TCO) collaborate internationally through
secretariats with trade unions throughout the world.

Job Search Resources
Networking skills are key to a successful job search in Sweden-over
forty percent of Swedes find their jobs through friends, family,
colleagues, former or present business contacts. Potential applicants
can also register with some of the larger Swedish head
hunters/recruitment agencies, advertise in a CV database, or, if
already living in Sweden, contact a local Employment Office for
further advice.

Job-seekers in Sweden, particularly IT specialists, should take
advantage of online career search engines, job banks and other
Internet resources. The Internet is one of the most effective ways of
finding job vacancies, and many have sections where users can post
their résumés, allowing employers to search for and connect with
prospective employees. If you don't speak Swedish, be warned-many
of the most popular job websites are available only in Swedish.

The National Labour Market Administration (AMV), founded in 1948, is
a great resource for job vacancies. AMV has an office in almost
every town in Sweden, and unemployment services include a
newspaper and database that maintain a comprehensive list of
Swedish job vacancies, computer access for writing applications and
conducting searches for jobs in the Internet (online service
"platsbanken"), and valuable resume-writing advice.

Financial Considerations
Similar to its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden maintains one of the
highest standards and costs of living in the European Union. Salaries
are well above the EU average, but taxation is also very high. Many
goods and services are considerably more expensive than in other EU
countries. Bring your own bags to the supermarket to save the $0.15
surcharge on each grocery bag.

Stockholm has witnessed a severe housing shortage in for both
buying and renting real estate. In some areas, this has driven up
prices as much 100 percent, and most properties are only on the
market for a very short time. The best time to view properties is two
to four weeks prior to moving. Houses are not available in many of
Sweden's main cities. If you live outside of a major urban area, your
rent will be cheaper, but you'll probably have to pay to commute.

Sweden invests almost eight percent of its gross national product
(GNP) into health care and medical services. All Swedish residents
are included in the medical care system, and there is approximately
one doctor for every 350 persons. Outpatient care is organized into
primary care districts.

Cash payments, benefits in kind, and expense allowances are all
taxable as earned income. If you intend to work in Sweden for more
than six months, you are liable to pay taxes, deducted by your
employer. Individual income tax is levied mainly by the municipality of
residence, at rates ranging from 26 to 35 per cent.

Employment Trends
The Swedish economy and labor market has witnessed positive
growth for several years, and the nation's unemployment rate is
currently very low (4.2 percent in July 2001). In some fields,
difficulties in recruiting skilled workers have replaced unemployment
problems. Recruiting problems are especially apparent in the
medical/health care arena and teaching professions. Computer
specialists, engineers and technicians, and certain manufacturing and
construction professionals are also in short supply. In general, job
opportunities in sales, restaurants and service, transportation,
customer services and administration is good, although there are
some recruiting problems in regard to company salespersons,
accountants, cooks and drivers.

Swedish job opportunities in the private service sector have grown
dramatically, particularly for consultants. Improvements in
infrastructure and private construction are generating new jobs for
municipal employees. Sweden's IT sector has slowed down
substantially in the last year, in response to the failure of many
e-businesses and dot-coms in Europe and the U.S. The supply of
labor for computer professions not requiring higher-level education
has improved, and there is a surplus of network technicians, web
designers and computer technicians. However, there is still a lack of
higher education graduates, such as system designers and
programmers, and an increasing demand within the IT industry for
skilled workers with interdisciplinary educations.

Resume/CV's
Because Sweden is a small but internationally-active country, you
may submit your resume/CV in either Swedish or English. Tailor your
CV to emphasize your qualifications for the position, and to give
some sense of your own personality.

Your resume should be one to two pages long, depending on the
length of your work experience. The major sections, education and
work experience, should be in chronological order, ending with the
most recent.

The standard components are:

· Name, date and place of birth, address, and contact information
· The position applied for-and your qualifications
· Education, starting with high school, and including study emphases,
dates, diplomas, degrees, internships, study or travel abroad, honors,
and extracurricular activities
· Your work history, with name and location of employers, your title
and responsibilities. This is the most important section for an
applicant who has been in the work force for a few years.
· Military and volunteer service (if applicable), knowledge of
languages and computer programs, your civil status, and other
personal information.
· References "Available on request."

Enclose your resume with a one-page cover letter in A4 format. If
you wish, you may also include original documents (grades, and
certificates), and a small photo. You should have your resume and
any official documents "attested"-(verified and signed) by someone
who can vouch for their validity.

Information Technology
Sweden's IT sector has slowed down substantially in the last year, in
response to the failure of many e-businesses and dot-coms in Europe
and the U.S. The supply of labor for computer professions not
requiring higher-level education has improved, and there is a surplus
of network technicians, web designers and computer technicians.
However, there is still a lack of higher education graduates, such as
system designers and programmers, and an increasing demand within
the IT industry for skilled workers with interdisciplinary educations.

Generally, IT positions in Sweden require a university or college
education, as well as experience and/or training in a
high-tech-related field. System developers often have a university
degree within system science. Operational developers often have a
background in economics, as well.

Sweden maintains only a small number of professional and trade
associations. The country's labor and trade unions have the most
influence on the labor market and work for the interests of their
members and lobby to influence public policy. They also offer their
members insurance, legal advice, and help in the search for new
work. SACO (Sveriges Akademikers Central Organisation, or the
Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations) is an umbrella
organization of 26 strong, independent trade unions representing
nearly half a million graduate professionals.

Interviewing Advice
Before your interview, research the company and, if you wish, call
the contact person to obtain specific information. Review your own
skills and experience, and prepare a list of questions you would like
to ask. Although the interview may well be in English, if you know
any Swedish, those present will appreciate your attempts to speak
their language. Dress conservatively. Appropriate attire for men is
dark suits and ties and, for women, tailored suits or dresses.

The interview normally starts on time, with introductions and hand
shakes with everyone present. Use professional titles, or Mr., Mrs.,
or Miss with the last name when addressing someone. Unions are
strong in Sweden; so do not be surprised if a union official attends
the meeting.

During the meeting, maintain eye contact, and a quiet and modest
manner; answer questions honestly and to the point. Swedes
distrust loud, over-friendly or boastful behavior. There will be
questions about your qualifications, skills, and experience; there also
may be questions about your opinion on environmental policies, a
subject of great concern to the Swedes. It is better not to raise the
question of salary early, but be prepared, if asked, to give your
preference.

Engineering
Sweden is well known for high quality and technologically advanced
products. Although the country's economical boom is slowing down,
industry experts expect that the need for engineers will increase in
the near future. Industrial engineers are in particularly high demand,
and as Sweden's technological development rapidly expands, the
need for qualified and educated IT engineers will also increase. There
are also job opportunities for construction engineers with knowledge
in computer-aided design (CAD).

Some areas of engineering, such as construction, machine
technology, electrical engineering, and chemical or physical
engineering, require a bachelor's degree. Engineers must have a
strong background in mathematics and physics. Swedish engineers
are not required to have a license or certification from a specific
state or central organization.

Sweden maintains only a small number of engineering professional and
trade associations. SACO (Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganisation,
or the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations) is an
umbrella organization of 26 strong, independent trade unions
representing nearly half a million graduate professionals. Engineering
job-seekers can also check out trade publications such as Ny Teknik,
Sweden's leading technical magazine for engineers, which focuses on
the development, possibilities and societal consequences of new
engineering technology.


Work Permits
After living three months in Sweden, European Union (EU) nationals
must apply for a residence permit. Citizens of EU/EEA countries are
subject to the free movement of persons and do not need to have a
work permit to work in Sweden. EU/EEA citizens may work in Sweden
for up to three months without a residence permit (UT), but this is
not recommended since it is almost impossible to get by without a
Swedish personal identity number, which is needed, for example, for
all personal financial transactions.

If you're a citizen of a non-EU country and intend to work, study, or
stay in Sweden longer than 90 days, you will need a visa to enter
the country. Visas should be applied for and obtained well in advance
from a Swedish Embassy or Consulate in the home country. A
residence card entitles the holder to free health care and education.

Non-EU/EEA citizens who intend to work in Sweden need to obtain a
work permit, which can be difficult. Swedes, foreign people already
living in Sweden and EU/EEA citizens have preference over others in
obtaining work in Sweden. If an employer in Sweden offers you a job,
contact the Swedish Embassy in your home country and apply for
work and residence permits there. A Swedish labor market authority
will review requests for a work permit.

Accounting & Finance
The number of jobs for qualified finance and accounting people in
Sweden, particularly those with experience, has increased in recent
years, allowing more people to find employment directly after
obtaining their degree. In general, however, the industry outlook is
good; new job opportunities for accountants and finance consultants
will continue to grow in the IT, media, and consulting sectors.
Business globalization is placing high demand on candidates with
language skills and experience from working or studying abroad.

Most jobs within accounting and finance require a university or a
college degree and/or work experience in an accounting or
finance-related field. A financial degree from upper secondary school
allows professionals to work in banks or insurance companies, but for
higher positions, a more advanced is required. To apply for a job in
this field, you will have to show a certificate verifying your
educational degree. To work as an auditor or accountant, you will
need to become a member of the Swedish Accountant Association,
which requires a special form of license. This allows job applicants to
use the title "revisor." This designation requires a university or
college degree in accounting, as well as five years of practical
experience as an assistant to an accounting professional. Other
occupations in this field do not need a specific certification of skills;
a degree and work experience is enough. Registration in some sort of
central professional registry is not required to work in this industry.

Cultural Advice
If you're planning a trip or move to Sweden, keep the following
cultural tips in mind:

· Most of the Swedish population is fluent in English. Therefore,
conducting business in English is seldom a problem.

· In Sweden, greetings are brief and involve a minimum of physical
contact. A firm and quick handshake accompanied by direct eye
contact are used both as a greeting and a farewell.

· One can expect business in Sweden to take on a slower pace than
in many countries. Relaxation is very important, and one will find that
Swedes tend to take several breaks and a long lunch. Business may
also appear to move more slowly in Sweden because decisions are
made according to group consensus. There is much cooperation
among employees, and most business operations run smoothly.

· Socializing after working hours is rare; however, many Swedes do
consider their colleagues good friends. Most entertaining is done in
the home, but restaurants are becoming more popular. When visiting
a Swedish home, a small gift such as a bouquet of unwrapped
flowers (in an odd number), or a box of candies is appreciated. It is
appropriate to follow up with a thank-you note or a phone call the
very next day.


Sales & Marketing
Marketing and sales jobs are very competitive in Sweden. However,
trained marketing and sales staff will remain in high demand as
Swedish companies push to increase revenue, target key markets,
and maintain customer relationships. Job opportunities in the Swedish
sales and marketing sector are less competitive for well-educated,
experienced candidates. Highly marketable skills include a
technology-oriented education, IT-knowledge, a background in
finance, and foreign language ability. Industry experts are predicting
a good future for sales and marketing professionals within industrial
and service companies, particularly as key account managers obtain
a more important role within larger Swedish firms. Future
development of this field depends greatly on the national and global
economy.

Although no specific degree is required, sales and marketing
professionals often have a college or university degree combined with
an educational background in accounting, social sciences, political
science, or technology. Practical experience from sales or journalism
is important. Some universities in Sweden, such as the Graphical
Institute in Stockholm, have special education programs for
marketing. Other universities offer courses in marketing within their
economic studies programs. Normally these programs last from three
to five years, depending upon the course of study. There is no
license or certification from State or central organizations needed to
work in this area.

General Business
A number of employment opportunities are available in Sweden's
growing private business and consulting sectors; expanding
construction activity is also generating new jobs for municipal
employees. The need for consultants and qualified managers,
particularly those with specialized IT or technological knowledge, is
growing rapidly and demanding foreign recruitment.

Consulting and managerial candidates should have experience and
training in finance and business management. Consultants working in
specific sectors, such as engineering, should have industry-related
experience. Most management jobs require at least a bachelors'
degree. Many Swedish universities offer a degree in management,
commonly within the school's financial education program or
personnel sciences programs. Candidates with no degree can
sometimes land a management job with several years of practical
experience. There is no license or certification from State or central
organization necessary to work in this field.

Swedish trade publications are particularly useful to those seeking
jobs in business and consulting. Finanstidningen, a leading business
magazine in Sweden, focuses on stock market and business analysis,
banking, politics, news, technology and investing. Dagens Industri, a
popular Swedish business and finance paper, publishes information
about national and international financial trends and
business-relevant political news.



This is only a small part what's available in the 75+ information packed pages of the Going Global Career Guide for Sweden: About Going Global Career Guides:

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Country Career Guides Table of Contents

I. COUNTRY PROFILE

II. JOB-SEARCH RESOURCES
1.Online Job Sites
2.Government-Sponsored Employment Offices
3.Job Fairs/Career Events
4.Staffing Agencies/Temporary Help Firms
5.Newspapers that Publish Job Advertisements
6.Other Resources

III. EMPLOYMENT TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

General Trends
Information Technology

1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Engineering
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Accounting and Finance
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Sales and Marketing
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
General Business
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources

IV. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES
1.Business Organizations/Trade Councils
2.Chambers of Commerce
3.Telephone Directories
4.Publications
5.Other Resources

VI. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ( Cost of living, salaries, health insurance, taxes, vacation/leave, benefits, etc)

VII. WORK PERMITS/VISAS

VIII. JOB APPLICATION GUIDELINES
1.Cover Letter Guidelines and Sample
2.Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples

IX. INTERVIEWING ADVICE

X. CULTURAL ADVICE

XI. COUNTRY RESOURCE BOOKS