To attract, recruit and retain talent is crucial for Swedish companies today and an increasing need in the near future. By 2024, we will need more than 70,000 talents to work in tech industries. One low-hanging fruit is to explore highly qualified international talents that already are in Sweden. This is why Switch to Sweden has worked on this topic for 1,5 years, and now we are halfway through the period of this project financed by Vinnova, facilitated by Linköping Science Park.

The goal: To increase the number of qualified matches between international academic talents and Swedish recruiting companies. At the same time, it is a simple and complex goal. This is also shown in activities we have been doing for the last 18 months. 

To start with, we investigated the actual need through surveys which are summarized in “The Talent Map Report”. Many of the actions, activities and events that were held last year are a result of the findings from this report. 

In Sweden, many of the recruitments are done by networking. However, many international talents lack a professional network in their early years in Sweden. Therefore, we firmly believe that creating opportunities for international talents and companies to meet and build relationships is a success factor. This is why we have organized several matchmaking events with the help of an AI tool to pair individuals based on their skills and the specific talent requirements of companies. Over 200 companies and 800 students have participated leading to over 100 meetings. Four Marie Curie fellows who participated in the matchmaking activity were successfully hired by companies in Sweden.
We look forward to continuing developing this tool and process in the coming 1,5 years.

A national platform

To gather relevant information for international talents and companies who want to recruit has been a clear need for both target groups. Our website, has been developed as a platform presenting links to the right information mainly on language, migration, and retention. To make this even easier we have implemented the chatbot Helen. This chatbot, developed by the Linköping based start-up Worldish, guides talents in the jungle of information regarding life in Sweden. We also publish inspiring success stories from both companies and talents, presenting their journey to finding the right people for a successful match.


To better understand the current status of international talent attraction and retention efforts we have looked nationally and internationally. A field trip to Estonia and Finland was done in order to see how neighboring countries manage their own strategies related to this topic. 

In Sweden, we collaborate with different representatives at a national, regional, and municipality level varying from different types of organizations. The advisory board of Switch to Sweden is composed of companies, researchers, and other governmental actors. The organizations that have joined us in this journey are the Swedish Institute, Invest Stockholm, Invest in Skåne, TechSverige, Business Region Göteborg, Region Västerbotten, Region Norrbotten, Region Östergötland, Dalarna Science Park, Ideon Science Park, Linköping University, Luleå Tekniska Universitet, NIRA Dynamics and Sylog. We appreciate their continued collaboration and interest in improving these international talent attraction and retention efforts.  

Book launch for the Field guide at Linköping Science Park’s summer party.

Collaboration from a national perspective has been a key effort in the construction of the project. That’s why Linköping Science Park has developed and financed a welcome book as a field guide for international talents who desire to explore living and working in Sweden. The book addresses most of the common needs expressed by international professionals and students from an early stage to facilitate their landing process in the country from day one. This book has been distributed to multiple actors and students who are interested in this topic with an option to deep dive into different locations in Sweden.

Challenges ahead

The social climate in Sweden is challenging at the moment. The picture of Sweden as a safe, open country, has taken a hit. Also, the migration legislation is challenging with new rules and long processing times. This is concerning because the lack of talent is not only an issue for Sweden but a global issue. Countries that are opening up and welcoming international talent, make it easy for talents to access the country and the labor market. This is why we published a debate article lifting the current situation and making a call to action to improve identified barriers.

Another challenge we are facing is the ability of businesses to open their doors to international talent. Of course, we understand that there are fears. It is always exciting to get new people to the team and we know it is easier to recruit somebody who is similar to yourself or the rest of the team. But we also know how much international talents can contribute to the team, the product, and to the business. To support companies in this, we launched “Tap the Talent”, a digital program to support companies to dare to take the step! 

Presenting Switch to Sweden at Thesis fair for students in Linköping.

Next steps

We will continue further developing the current platform with extra information for international students and professionals who need it. Together with Berlin Partner, Talent Scotland, Bizkaia Talent, Work In Estonia, Oslo Region Alliance, Copenhagen Capacity, Move to Gothenburg, Business Finland, and Brainport Development we will publish a European benchmark comparing different experiences from students and companies in 9 countries to learn and evaluate their experience.

Also, we will carry on working with both companies and international talents, guiding them to develop the right knowledge and skills to work together. Lastly, we will focus on strengthening the network opportunities and increasing the first meetings between companies and talents so they can learn from each other, and hopefully become a successful match. Our society depends on it.

Switch to Sweden is a project financed by

Vinnova, sveriges innovationsmyndighet, Linköping Science Park