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5 August, 2019

Surprising things for Newbies working in Sweden

from an Italian point of view.

My name is Francesca, 100% Italian, living in Stockholm since 2016. Why Stockholm? Good question, I moved for work without thinking how cold and dark it would be during the winter… but hey, that gives me one more excuse to travel.

Long story short – I was born in 1987 in Monza, F1 GP race for those who don’t where it is. 


I studied economics in Italy and moved to Australia for my master degree – the best year of my life. I loved Australia and would love to go back, those were the days when people were hanging out instead of posting pictures … I also missed Uluru and Cairns. 


After Australia, I took my PhD in international management back in Italy. Startups were not invented back then, so I decided to aim for a multinational company. So here I am, working in Online Business Development for ASSA ABLOY, a Swedish multinational company.

Going back a few years, I started my career in Atlas Copco, in the Italian business unit. Working for a Swedish company makes a big difference – more equality and more leaders than managers.

In Italy, unfortunately, there are not so many career opportunities, especially if you are a woman. If there are any, it takes a really long time to take a step ahead. I know it’s a bit old fashion, but that’s the way it is.

I started in the customer support team and quite soon I have been involved in developing marketing activities and got more visibility outside the Italian market. Therefore after a couple of years, I had my first trip to the head office in Stockholm to join a Challenger program, designed for young talents. During the program, I got a chance to meet key stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the digital part of the business. Then I applied for a managerial role in the Stockholm HO. After a couple of years, I moved to ASSA ABLOY to my current role.

But what are the main differences between working in Sweden and Italy? I have already mentioned a couple of them, but I would add:

  • Working time flexibility: no need to badge in and out in Sweden but you can pretty much manage your time. Moreover, working from home is allowed.
  • Salary: salaries in Sweden are 30 to 40% higher than in Italy and there are reviews every year, which you basically don’t in Italy; taxes are pretty much the same.
  • Gender diversity: in Sweden, there are much more women with managerial roles comparing to Italy. Employers believe in young talents.
  • Empowerment: in Sweden, you get a mission and then you work to achieve your results. Your manager supports you and gives you some directions, but it’s up to you how you achieve the results. On the contrary, in Italy, almost all your managers tell you exactly what to do. The empowerment is quite low.

What are the differences between working in your country and in Sweden? Share your stories in comments!

Liked this? There is a lot more interesting stuff

Francesca Frigerio on Instagram
Francesca Frigerio
My name is Francesca, 100% Italian, living in Stockholm since 2016.
Why Stockholm? Good question, I moved for work without thinking how cold and dark it would be during winter … but hey, that gives me one more excuse to travel.

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