What should employers know about relocating employees from Finland to Sweden? Lena Rekdal and Johanna Lennartson from Swedish relocation company Nimmersion shared their tips in our interview.
In addition to relocating employees to Finland, we have also helped many companies moving their employees from Finland to other countries. As a member of the leading global relocation networks such as EuRA, we have local partners around the world and can provide high-quality relocation services for employees relocating from Finland as well.
Sweden is one of the most popular countries for Finnish employees to relocate. There are, for example, many Nordic companies that relocate their employees between their Finnish and Swedish offices. In the following, Lena Rekdal and Johanna Lennartson from Nimmersion tell what HR should know about relocating employees from Finland to Sweden.
Relocating from Finland to Sweden
Finnish employers often think moving employees to Sweden is very easy since the countries are so similar. However, Lena advises them not to underestimate the difficulties:
“People think it’s easy to relocate between the Nordic countries, but it’s not always true. There are a lot of similarities but also differences, so professional relocation services, and cultural training are incredibly helpful also for Finns who move to Sweden. And it’s even more important for third-country nationals moving from Finland to Sweden. So it’s good for employers to know that moving to Sweden is like moving to any other country.”
One typical difference between Finnish and Swedish cultures is the directness: Finns speak more directly, whereas Swedes want to avoid conflicts. This can be seen both in work cultures and relocation processes.
“Finns expect very straight and fast answers, and in Sweden it’s not always easy. Our authorities are more complicated and slow. It’s the same with Swedish landlords, they don’t always give so fast and direct answers”, Johanna says.
Special things to remember when moving to Sweden
According to many employees who have moved to Sweden, help from a relocation consultant has been especially useful in finding an apartment. “There is a housing shortage in Sweden. The demand for apartments is high everywhere in Sweden, not only in the biggest cities.
Compared to Finland, there are not so many new buildings, so finding a new apartment is particularly challenging. For Finns, it’s also good to know that finding an apartment with a sauna is not as easy as in Finland. In addition, Swedish landlords don’t trust private individuals, but they want to lease to companies. So if the employer isn’t willing to rent the apartment, having a trusted relocation agency may help.”
Expats also appreciate the help with banking services since opening a bank account is not always easy in Sweden. A Swedish personal identity number is usually needed for opening an account, as well as for many other important services.
“In Sweden, you can’t access healthcare or almost anything without a personal number – in Finland, there are more things you can do without it. Getting the personal number is not very difficult, but at the moment, it takes a long time, even several months”, says Johanna.
Finns have good experiences of living in Sweden
“Finns are the second largest nationality in Sweden, so it’s easy to find other Finns or at least people who have Finnish relatives. There are many familiar things for Finns; for example, the food is very similar.”
Finns also have an advantage with the language. Even if they don’t speak Swedish, they have studied it at school, so they have the basis to learn it, and according to Lena and Johanna, they usually learn it very fast. The Swedish government also offers free Swedish lessons for people moving there – as soon as they have the personal number. On the other hand, Swedes speak very good English and love to speak it, so they often change to English when a foreigner tries to speak Swedish to them.
One thing many Finnish expats like about Sweden is the positive attitude. “Because of the country’s history, Swedes are more happy-go-lucky and not as worried as Finns. The Swedes don’t only hope for the best but they always expect the best will happen. Finns are better prepared for crises, which has, of course, been very useful during the pandemic.”
Swedish work culture
Finns feel welcomed in Swedish workplaces. “Finnish employees are very appreciated because they are very dependable, straightforward, and highly educated. The only problem is that in Sweden, many think Finns don’t need any cultural training as the countries are so similar. There are, of course, similarities in work cultures, such as low hierarchies, but also differences. For example, it’s good to know that in Sweden, we have more meetings and “fika” breaks than in Finland.”
See also Nimmersion’s Relocation Guide!
Planning to relocate your employees from Finland to Sweden? Contact us!