OUR RESEARCH REFLECTED WHAT WE OURSELVES HAD EXPERIENCED: that there was a lack of centrally-located, easy-to-understand information. It was tough understanding all we needed to do to put our best foot forward. How should we adjust our CVs? What is acceptable culturally in terms of job searching practices? How (and why) do we validate our education? What programs were out there that we could explore?
REPORTS ALSO POINTED TO the value of inside contacts as the key to gaining an interview. An unbelievable 8 of 10 jobs is obtained in Sweden this way. However, most immigrants do not have a business network upon moving to a new country. There are programs and clubs to join where one can meet other expats but these acquaintances and new friends are not insiders who could "pull in" a foreigner.
WE FOUND THAT the waste of talent is a recognized problem here in Sweden. Businesses were risking their competitiveness in an increasingly globalized economy, and entire sectors were experiencing (and projected to experience) skilled labor shortages. It was costing the country millions because so many job-seeking and highly-educated denizens were not contributing to the gross domestic product. (Without jobs, they cannot pay income taxes, right? Their consumer spending is also limited.) Surveys stated that business leadership recognized the value of incorporating diversity in their workplaces but that for some reason, they could not find this talent. This last part really surprised us!
OUR VISION OF SVERIGES INTERNATIONELLA TALANGER was born of our wish to save others from the angst that we experienced and to help them get the information they needed to maximize their marketability- and to fuel their job seeking activities. We chose LinkedIn as our communication vehicle due to its popularity here in Sweden and established SIT based on the idea of building contacts and increasing overall visibility. Our organization would be the entity through which members could connect with each other as a community but then (step two) become an organization through which members could reach out to those Swedes in the Swedish business world, be seen, and then- BE PULLED IN to the labor market.