Planning a relocation to Sweden is typically the job of Global Mobility Managers with the help of immigration experts, moving companies, relocation companies, language schools, tax consultants, and others in order to make it a smooth transition for the employee moving here.
The war for talent is a very real issue, even in Covid-19 times, there are plenty of companies that need foreign talent to help with the digitization and other skills where there’s a gap in the Swedish Market. Just like the rest of the world, the demand is higher than the supply of skilled professionals that can be part of this important work. Not surprisingly, countries have politicians that provide an excellent infrastructure for their corporations to welcome talent. Good examples are Ireland, Germany, and Canada. Seeing foreign skills movement as a major driver for growth, hence their Migration Agencies and overall tax structure are geared to attract foreigners and to keep their own talent from leaving.
This blog aims to give some guidance to the welcoming of new recruits that move to Sweden to work.
One of the major obstacles to moving to Sweden is the lack of housing. It’s been a shortage since 1905 and while Nimmersion opened up in 1995 the last 25+ years have not seen things get better.
So what is the situation now with the Pandemic?
Landlords are usually private individuals that rent out their properties while they are doing something else.
We have seen more landlords go back home earlier from their assignments abroad in order to make sure they are eligible for medical care or to be close to older family members that may need care.
Students have found that their classes are going online and therefore they leave the student towns and go back home either to their parent’s housing (multigenerational living quarters with adult kids have become far more common) or to their apartments, which used to be rented out…
So, we have seen many clients that have had to move to new housing mid-assignment due to the owners returning home.
We have also seen that renters are more careful to spend a great deal of money on rent and with lower demand landlords have chosen to agree to lower rental levels. Not only are landlords coming back home, but fewer new talents are also moving to Sweden. So for those that come here a more flexible housing market is available. It isn’t 100% of the landlord’s market in 2021. This is good news for our clients as some requirements in the picky process of choosing a tenant have been relaxed, even if not by much.
Asking for things that are reasonable can be easier now as long as it doesn’t infringe on social distancing. For example, adding furniture or equipment to fully furnish an apartment for instance can be done if the additionals can be ordered and delivered. Trying to get landlords to go out to stores may be harder since everyone is nervous about being out and about these days.
Finding places in daycare or school is one of the most important things for families that relocate. Feeling comfortable and happy when dropping off children is a dealbreaker for a successful assignment. Sweden is a high tax country with many perks funded by the taxes. Hence it’s a location where both parents may need to work in order to make ends meet. Having access to affordable and excellent childcare and schooling is helpful. Yet, there may be some legwork before finding a placement. Although there’s less pressure on the school placement now due to fewer people moving to Sweden it’s still a very good idea to start the application process early whenever possible. Like we always say, starting early is the best remedy for peace of mind and not having to go for emergency measures later. When both parents have jobs, childcare becomes essential, and having private nannies for months on end or having to delay starting a new position is not ideal.
Many activities have seized to happen so signing up for activities both for adults and children has been a disappointing task in the last year and is likely to continue at least until summer. Outdoors activities have been favored and children and adults spend far more time outside. Hiking, skiing, ice skating, and long walks are a new way of life and the most popular Christmas gift in 2020 was a gas-burner for outdoor use.
Global Mobility Managers can help new talent find outdoor activities so talent get a positive and new start in Sweden. Reviewing our resources, we see an enormous amount of great suggestions, and also a lot of activities that are no longer possible such as museum visits, concerts, etc. However, the sky is the limit on other ideas, and anyone with access to a car can do excursions and get to know the surroundings.
Welcoming talent in 2021, at least in the first part of the year, will be a special task, and getting to know a semi-closed city not easy. Inspiring your new colleagues to use the time well when being time wealthy will be much appreciated.
There are online Swedish lessons and a good opportunity to spend time on that already in the beginning is possible. You can also point to online ex-pat communities for some new connections (why not introduce some Swedes? A normal year that would be a very good idea, this year many of the locals need to care for elderly parents and need to be far more careful than people that have their elders at a safe distance). One of the really nice things when moving is that you are time wealthy and it’s a good time to have some intention around using that time wisely. Getting inspired by the help of colleagues is golden.
Why not Download the Happiness Handout and of course encourage your newbies to sign up for Professional Inspiration, the information is in the introduction email that goes out to your new talent when we start working with them. That can help them make this a special time too.
2020 and 2021 are year’s when we all are learning many new things and an opportunity to widen our horizons in creative ways.