Graduate schemes in Sweden

Fresh out of university and looking for a Graduate programme in Sweden? Read our FAQ and start browsing through 21 trainee positions that are currently offered by employers such as ARM, King, L'Oréal Nordic, Alfa Laval & Ericsson. Good luck!

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What is a graduate programme?

A graduate programme (also known as a graduate scheme) is something that companies offer graduates in order to get highly competent employees and to shape them into the future leaders, specialists and key figures of the organisation. The difference between an ordinary entry-level job and a graduate employment is that the employee during a 1-2 years period of time is given a greater insight of the organisation’s different departments, mentoring and a more successive career curve within the company.

When looking for graduate programmes in Sweden, it might be useful to know that the equivalent search term in Swedish is trainee programme and that the employees are called trainees.

Why could a graduate programme be a good idea for you?

Getting enrolled in a graduate scheme is a lucrative shortcut to getting the jobs most sought after on the market. A graduate programme will give the employee a full insight of the different departments of a company that will give you the opportunity to find the field of expertise you’re most interested in. Internal training and personal guidance in the process are also two things that are offered in the programme. In other words- it’s a perfect opportunity to jump-start your professional career within an organisation!

From the company’s point of view, this is an excellent opportunity to mold profiles to key competencies for the future. The goal is that the employee, after having finished the programme, will have the relevant knowledge and skills to continue his or her employment within the organisation. The company offers internal education, mentorship, and rotation during the graduate scheme and, in most cases also a full-time employment at the end of the programme.

What kind of companies offer graduate programmes?

Positions like these have become both more popular and common in Sweden the last couple of years. Most of the larger scaled corporations are offering graduate programmes with the prospect of the enrolled continuing on advancing within the enterprise as managers or specialists.

The most common employers hosting these kinds of programmes are big- or medium scaled international enterprises often with English as their official language. Lately different Swedish authorities have started to offer graduate programmes as well.

What are companies looking for in a graduate?

To get enrolled in a graduate programme you need to have a higher education degree from a university or equivalent. The job posts are usually designated for those with a master but there are some possibilities of graduate jobs for graduates with a bachelor degree as well.   

In earlier years these positions have been foremost for engineering and business graduates but the concept of graduate schemes has lately grown to become broader incorporating other branches. Furthermore, the former idea of having these programmes to create the “future managers” has somewhat changed into also employing for the purpose of finding the right competence for specialised professions.

What do the programmes offer to trainees?

The company fabricates a so-called development programme with different job assignments, education and different goals suited for the graduates. The main purpose is to combine theory with practice in order to learn the foundation of the organisation. The employee will get tutoring of the company’s business model, internal culture, and organisation structure while gaining more specific knowledge in communication policies, management, decision-making and analytical strategies.

The organisation offers guidance of a mentor that will function as a discussion partner throughout the programme. These are usually influential people at the company with vast knowledge and insight of different departments and with a broad network of contacts.

How is a Swedish graduate programme structured?

The graduate positions at Swedish companies and authorities are usually full-time but some offer part-time as well. There are different types of contract but the most commonly used is fixed term with a definite final date.

The length of the contracts varies depending on the company but is usually somewhere between 9-36 months, most commonly roughly 18 months. The length of different types of graduate programmes at the same company can, in other words, vary depending on the specific development programmes for the different positions.

What do you earn as a trainee in Sweden?

A common misperception is that a graduate employee gets a lower initial salary than a regular employee; this is mostly not the case at Swedish companies. The wages should be adjusted to conditions on the market and be in line with the company’s salary policy. The graduate employee should, therefore, get that same initial salary as a newly employed with the same educational background. This, however, does vary depending on the company hosting the programme.

How international are the programmes?  

Many of the international enterprises in Sweden offer their graduates an opportunity to go abroad for a period of time to experience a so-called rotation. As part of the development programme you then get a chance to familiarise yourself with a different department of the organisation in a different country. This part is usually very appreciated both by the employer and the employee.

How can you apply?

The procedure of applying for a graduate programme resembles the recruitment process for an ordinary job. However, it’s often appreciated if you complement your CV with accompanying documents like recommendation letters, diploma and credentials. In some cases, there is more than one interview with a series follow-up group/case interviews and assignments.

Make sure you’re out in time to get your dream position in a graduate programme. The bigger companies often target students in their final year of studies and will start their recruitment process up till one year before the starting date.

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