Research: Swedish companies in China popular among employees

New findings show that as many as 91.6% of employees working at a Swedish company in China are likely to recommend working for a Swedish company to someone else. Swedish companies in China also claim comparatively high satisfaction rates, with the average employment time standing at 5.09 years, according to the research data collected through three channels: social media (Weibo) innovation analysis, internal interviews with employees at Swedish companies in China and an external study of students and young professionals.

The Swedish Spirit of Innovation project initiated the Report Research on Swedish Business Culture in China, conducted in collaboration with leading Scandinavian brand management agency Rewir, leading European research agency Nepa and CIC, a renowned social business intelligence provider in China.

SSOI_pressreleaseSwedish Spirit of Innovation is an initiative driven by the six companies Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, Ericsson, IKEA, SKF and Volvo. This is the first such case of Swedish employers spearheading a large-scale business culture project in China.

The research data was collected among 2,872 participants who took part in interviews and external studies. 1,472 participants were from six Swedish companies – Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, Ericsson, IKEA, SKF and Volvo – and 1,400 were external participants aged from 21 years old to 33 years old, with 77% identified as young professionals and 20% as universities students.

According to the research, among foreign companies from Germany, France, the US, Japan and Sweden, overall employee satisfaction levels were significantly higher for Swedish employers (71%), followed by German employers (62%).

Aside the high rate of employees likely to recommend working for a Swedish company to someone else the research also looked into employee turnover and according to 1,400 samples, the average years employed at the abovementioned Swedish companies is 5.09 years.

Furthermore, Chinese netizens show great interest in discussions about Swedish innovation. The research report analysed online discussion of the topic and the results show that demographically, China, the US and Sweden are the top three mentioned countries referenced when Chinese netizens talk about innovation.

In terms of the innovation buzz, the innovation of Sweden showed the most appreciation (38%), followed by that of the US (35%) and Japan (29%). A breakdown of innovation topics co-mentioned with Sweden showed that Chinese netizens mentioned most angles of creativity in life such as home design, corporate innovation and public facilities.

The Swedish Spirit of Innovation organising committee commented on the social media buzz about innovation of Sweden that Chinese netizens demonstrate an existing appreciation for Swedish innovation and some certain knowledge of Swedish innovation culture. Chinese employees speak highly of Swedish companies. These factors have paved the way for further promoting Swedish employer branding in China to continue this cause and spread the word further.

Why are Swedish companies are so popular among Chinese employees? The research initiator indicated that according to the research, Swedish business culture is highly regarded by Chinese employees. Chinese young job hunters are also coming to the same understanding, with salary alone no longer the only decisive concern. Among 1,400 external participants, salary still plays the most important role (55.9%), however aside from salary, opportunity for advancement (40.6%), fitness (26.6%) and work environment and business culture (25.2%) are the most cited reasons for choosing a job when considering a potential working environment.

In addition, internal interviews confirm that Sweden has established a premium image among Chinese employees. Sweden scores the highest on soft values. “Approachable, environmentally friendly, friendly, honest and family oriented” are the most frequently used words to describe Sweden by Chinese employees. Likewise, “professional, respecting employees, non-hierarchical” are words used to describe the overall perception of Swedish business culture in China.

Also, the research allowed for the identification of four core values that it was found all Swedish companies share, namely “Caring”, “Creating”, “Engaging” and “Sharing”. Data shows that flat management structures, equality and mutual respect between employees and managers, open workplaces and caring for employees and their families are the most competitive advantages of Swedish companies. Such a business culture has helped to enhance employees’ sense of belonging and satisfaction.

This research was co-conducted by CIC. CIC is the first China’s leading social business intelligence provider, enabling enterprises to fully leverage the power of soc

Promoting Swedish employers
Swedish Spirit of Innovation also has thirteen supporting organisations, all from Sweden. The project has been engineered to promote Swedish companies’ unique and innovative business culture, ensuring that China’s younger generations have a better understanding of the distinct and attractive attributes that Swedish employers share. Beginning in 2014 and climaxing in 2015, the campaign will combine digital interactions and on-the-ground activities directed at audiences throughout China and provide a window through which they can engage with several of Sweden’s top companies operating in China.

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