The recruitment of international students and researchers has become critical for Swedish organizations. This is due to the growing need for competent talent mostly in knowledge-intensive industries. However, the vast majority of competent international talent leave Sweden after finishing their studies. 

Switch to Sweden is a Vinnova funded project run by Linköping Science Park with the aim to increase the number of qualified matches between international talents in Sweden and recruiting companies. To do this it is crucial to understand the needs of both the talents and the companies.

Switch to Sweden has together with Terminal 5 and Future Place Leadership conducted surveys with over 500 talents and 100 companies to find out how they best can be supported and, in the end, make more talents stay in Sweden. In the survey, companies answered questions about their attitude towards international talents and what they find difficult in international recruitments. Meanwhile, talents answered questions about where they want to live and about the challenges of integrating into Swedish society.

Three focus areas 

The general result of the surveys and some recommendations have now been put together in a Talent map report that summarizes the most important findings. After analyzing the results there are three areas to focus on: 

  • Retention & integration
  • Language & culture 
  • Migration & administration

These three areas will help to take the next step in concrete actions to support talents and companies. For example, the community for international professionals, a group of talents who have made the journey can now be ambassadors, share their stories and support other talents.

– We need to start looking at retention of international talent, the moment they arrive, not when they graduate. And then optimize the soft landing into our society, culture and business world from day one, says Morten King-Grubert, Partner at Future Place Leadership.

Giving insights on the pains and possibilities

The talent map report is a huge leap in the right direction. With these insights it is now possible to support companies and talents even more. But also to see challenges in both groups, for instance in the question of language. Challenges related to language barriers seem to be the most prominent obstacle, followed by long processing times for work permit applications.

– Around 0.12% of the world’s population speaks swedish. Increasing the openness of Swedish businesses to people who do not speak Swedish is the single fastest way to make Sweden and Swedish businesses grow, says Peder Hansson from Terminal 5.

The report also points out some national challenges where Swedish society needs to join forces. One example is the administration and the migration processes.

– Everyone agrees that we need to facilitate the migration process for our international talents. It is a market failure where the need for skills exists, but where it is not facilitated to recruit this group. There is a great willingness from many actors to work on this issue, concludes Anna Broeders, project leader in Switch to Sweden.

Looking forward, Switch to Sweden continues the work with supporting talents and companies, with the help of the report creating even better opportunities for talents and companies to meet.


Read the report here

See the webinar on the report here


Curious and want to know more about the report?

Anna Broeders


Hela Galvis Bonilla

Hela Galvis Bonilla