Monday, March 25, 2013

The Swedish job market

The other day, I went to Arbetsförmedlingen (national job agency) with other students to gather some information about jobs in Sweden. Even though I am currently writing my Master Thesis, I am also looking for Swedish job opportunities. Let's see what people in my situations face today...

Sweden at a glance:
  • Unemployment rate: 8.9% (18.4% among people under 25)
  • In needs for: doctors, engineers, IT developers, etc.
  • Too much: administration workers, cleaning people, receptionists, etc.
  • Working 40h / week
  • 25 vacation days / year (allowed to take 4 weeks in the summer)
  •  No national minimum wage but average (2012):
    • ♂ 30600 SEK / month
    • ♀ 26200 SEK / month
  • Municipal taxes                    ≈ 31%
    • 372100 SEK / year          +20%
    • 532700 SEK / year          +25%
  • Typical workplace: flat organizations, team-working, initiatives-driven, informal, gender equality and strong trade unions.

On top of that, one better speaks Swedish as English-speaking jobs are quite rare. Then, actually getting in a company takes some time, sending a CV and a cover letter is just the beginning of a long process. Most of the time, the firm follows-up with a phone/skype interview, (online) cognitive tests, a group-interview, asking to solve a case study, speed-dating interviews with executives, a trial period and so on. In short: finding a job is extremely time consuming and requires a full investment of oneself (in terms of energy and showing off motivation).

Basically, Swedes look for jobs on different other websites such as,,,,,, etc. (you're welcome!) Of course, foreigners also apply for Swedish jobs when they feel like they meet the requirements. Even though they speak the language already, some of them feel discriminated, simply because of their name which does not sound Swedish. This is a national growing trend, yet forbidden by the law.

See for yourself:
- CV name-change leaves foreign student reeling (The Local) 
Bearers of foreign names less likely to find work in Sweden (Zuzeeko's Blog)
- What’s in a name? A field experiment test for the existence of ethnic discrimination in the hiring process (The Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies)
Ethnic discrimination in Swedish labour market (European Working Conditions Observatory)

[edit April 5th]Swedish study confirms foreign name CV bias (The Local)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Master Thesis (2)

I thought it was about time to give an update on thesis work. Hopefully, 6 weeks later, we made a bunch of changes. Indeed, we invested a lot of time and energy in the reading-thinking-writing process. Intense days followed each other. Damn, mid-March already! Time flies.

Basically, I like working on the thesis. It feels like we're achieving something. When we printed a draft of our first chapters, it was satisfied to hold the light 20-pages document with MASTER THESIS on the cover. In a way, I'm looking forward to be done :) 

Work in progress.
Whatever we read, books, articles, dissertations or thesis; it somehow influences us in our further work. We build upon existing concepts. Although, we shouldn't forget that it is just a master thesis: no need to establish a new theory, concept or model and compete to be the 21st century's Einstein! Yet, it's more motivating to pursue something that hasn't been established already. Taken from another perspective, what we're doing now should be useful for future research or inspire other students. However, that won't be possible if our work is confidential and forbidden to be published by a firm. Indeed, that's one of our current problem.

Contribution-wise, we intend to add-up to the concept of Knowledge Integration in uncertain environments. Innovative firms developing new complex products have to deal with new technologies which are not even existing yet or not ready to commercialize and their potential customers have specific requirements due to the niche market which is targeted. Hence, we will study how knowledge is integrated from different individuals working together in a team in this context of uncertainty.

Library worm.
We have been reading a lot of materials. For me it's quite frustrating, because when it comes to writing down my thoughts, I want to talk about everything I learned. The difficulty is to be precise when we use established concepts, without forgetting opposite perspectives. In the pursuit of the perfect text, we spend a considerable amount of time playing around with words and rewriting complete paragraphs every second day!

On the bottom line, it is kinda the same with the methodology chapter. What you intended to do is different from what you're doing or what you'll be able to do! As a result, it is rather challenging to get it done... Anyway, I'm confident. All this hard work gotta pay off at some point :)