The State of Expat Life in Sweden 2018

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We know what moving to Sweden is really like and what challenges expats face living in Sweden in 2018!

Swedish for Professionals always seeks to collaborate with other organizations and initiatives that strive to help newcomers and expats to settle and thrive in Sweden. We are also always keen on listening to expats and helping them tackle their everyday challenges. That’s why we at Swedish for Professionals collaborated together with the expat membership site New in Sweden (NiDS) and the news and analysis provider Mundus International to conduct a comprehensive survey about the real “Expat Life in Sweden” in 2018.

We wanted to find out what the reality is for expats living in Sweden in order to better help newcomers access the information they need before and during their relocation to Sweden.

It was therefore natural that we chose to support New in Sweden and Mundus International in interviewing expats, HR staff that organized their move and relocation agents that supported them during the process. The report explores the different dimensions of a move to Sweden and the different experiences that expats have from the transition.

A few insights from the report

Good news are that the Swedish economy is continuously growing and that there are many new opportunities presented to expats that chose to relocate here. New jobs are being created and companies are on the outlook for talent, which is a big opportunity for international professionals. Expatriates identify Sweden as a safe country with a high-quality of living, noted especially for its healthy lifestyle and ability to live close to nature. Sweden gets votes for its excellent work-life balance, outstanding family life, and good job security

In the study, it was however noteworthy that a sizeable minority of expats replied that it was “impossible to make friends” with Swedes and that around 40% of expats attributed a lack of Swedish relationships to an inability to speak Swedish fluently,

When being asked about building a career in Sweden many expats also stated that knowing the Swedish language could help them advance their careers faster. A few of the quotes from the participants were:

  • “I feel great for now. Going forward I will need to become fluent in Swedish and obtain the professional skills of a Swedish person in order to be able to find more opportunities here.”
  • “Being able to speak Swedish would help massively.”
  • “I need to learn the language. It is the key thing holding me back.”

To find out more about the situation the majority of expats in Sweden is facing, you can get the full “The State of Expat Life in Sweden 2018” report. You can find it here.

Our response

We are proud to have already helped more than 2000 international professionals advance their Swedish language skills with our innovative and customized Swedish courses.

Swedish for Professionals continuously develop different solutions to help expats practice their Swedish such as “Övningstalar”, a concept that lets people know that you are learning Swedish and that you want to practice!

Under the “Övningstalar” concept, we are organizing various activities and meetups where we meet, network and practice Swedish through various fun activities. The upcoming Monday we are hosting a free meetup at Stockholms Improvisationsteater Studio together with some of our language coaches where we will practice Swedish through 4 different creative activities/ games and improvisation theater exercises! You can find out more information and register here.

As the expats in the report stated that it was challenging to form relationships with Swedes and that it left them feeling socially isolated, this is an issue which we believe deserves more attention. HR departments could review how they support expats and their families, by investing in building the intercultural awareness and communication of both the expats and their Swedish workforce.

We are fully committed to continuing helping expats to integrate so make sure to like our website also on Facebook to be notified about our events and activities!

/The Swedish for Professionals team