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Working in Sweden

Got your first job or are you new to working life in Sweden? We have useful tips and information that will help you in your career. 

Here are our best tips for engineers who got their first job or are new to working life in Sweden. From useful guides and advice to interesting webinars to give you a good start and development at your job. 

Working in Sweden: Useful knowledge

Are you new in the Swedish labour market and want to know how it works? Watch our webinar with Engineers of Sweden's labour law specialists Friedrich Heger.

How to ensure a smooth start

Taking the first step into working life is often both exciting and a little scary. Here we have gathered some tips and advice to help you get off to a good start in your first job.

Tips for engineers newly arrived in Sweden

Engineers of Sweden’s members’ magazine Ingenjören asked engineers from abroad for their best tips for foreign engineers who are newly arrived in Sweden. Read some of their tips here:

  • Join lunches and coffee breaks with Swedes if you get the chance, even if you don’t understand what everyone is saying. Soon you will understand more and more and almost everyone speaks good English.

  • The Swedish you learn at SFI and SAS (Swedish as a second language) may differ from how people speak, for example at work. In everyday life, many people use slang words. Ask when you don’t understand and make a slang list.

  • I got a mentor through a program organized by Engineers of Sweden. My mentor helped me a lot in understanding how the labor market works in Sweden.

  • All cultures are different and sometimes you can use google to understand certain cultural differences between the home country and Sweden.
  • Networking is very important here. I missed informal meetings or mingling between established and newly arrived engineers. If you have the chance to participate in one, do it.

  • It may be wise to avoid talking about religion, politics or other issues at your first job. When you have been in Sweden for a while, you become more confident about what is a suitable topic.

  • There are certain unwritten rules in Sweden. One of them is called the Jantelagen and it says that you mustn’t think that you are better than others in any way. When I once said that I was satisfied with my job and had delivered the best, my colleagues thought I was joking.

Read all of the 29 tips when you are new to working life in Sweden at Ingenjörens website.

Seven signs that you are at a good workplace

How do you know that you have joined a good workplace? Your gut feeling often speaks for itself, but sometimes it's hard to get a handle on whether you're working in a good place when you don’t have anywhere else to compare with.

Advice from other engineers about their first jobs

Engineers of Sweden’s members’ magazine Ingenjören asked young engineers what they wished they had known when they walked through the door to their first engineering job. Here is some of their advice:

  1. Get clarification from the start about what you have the authority to do. What decisions can you make yourself?
  2. In your first job, it’s important to acquire plenty of experience. Make sure you learn as much as possible.
  3. Engineers rarely know a lot about business, but take the time to familiarise yourself with what your manager means when they talk about things like utilisation rates, allocations and requisitions. This can also be useful in your career going forward.
  4. Play the "new-to-the-company card" and book meetings with people from all levels of the company to network and gain a better understanding of the company.
  5. Challenge the status quo. Companies employ young people to bring new ideas, insights and values into the company. You need to adapt to the company's rules, but if something doesn't feel right or could be improved, dare to stand up for your opinion.
  6. If you have too much to do, be honest about what support you need. You shouldn't have to work overtime just because you're new. Working life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Read all of the advices about first jobs from engineers (in Swedish)

The Swedish model

Illustration of the Swedish model.
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