Growing job satisfaction; Denmark, Norway still at the top
Employees’ satisfaction is increasing in Sweden. The country has climbed up on top of the ranking list in a global study on how people find their work environment. "Now we see the light again and can feel optimism about the future", says Jonas Lindström, project manager at Ennova, the consulting firm behind the study. Sweden has advanced to place five on the list. Among the Nordic countries, Sweden is unique in showing a growing job satisfaction. At the same time our neighbors in Denmark and Norway are still enjoying their work more and has secured top rankings in the annual ranking list of how they experience their working conditions. “Norwegians are lucky not to have experienced the economic crisis”, says Jonas Lindström. At the bottom of the 23 countries included in the study we find Japan, Hungary and Russia. In Sweden, it is mainly public sector employees who indicate an increased job satisfaction. “You compare yourself with employees in the more turbulent private sector, and thus feel favored. But even in the private sector, we see that the job satisfaction has slightly increased," Lindström says. For Swedish employees it is the content of the work that matters the most. Swedish employers are also said to be relatively good at getting their employees feeling comfortable and safe. “Job satisfaction is a key factor and has a direct impact on the company's financial results," says Jonas Lindström.

Åke – the Robin Hood of trade and industry
Meet your dream boss – Åke Persson from Bjuråker. He is the boss who turns down a luxury mansion at the Riviera in order for his employees to share his millions. Åke, who owns the business Monitor in Hudiksvall, recently shared 5,000,000 SEK ($634,739.40) with his employees. During the first four months of the year, his business was very successful, but instead of reaping it all himself, Åke made sure all his employees (there are 85 of them) enjoyed the success. And it’s a lot. “Many see their income doubled,” he says. “This is a gift from me to my staff.” He believes the excess profits of his business for this year will come to 30 000 000 SEK ($3,804,480.12), money he will share during the next 8 years, beginning in 2011, although he might give some right away for the upcoming summer vacations. Why you ask? “I could buy a mansion on the Riviera or a ranch with horses somewhere,” says Åke, “and I see so many successful people buying a lot of stuff, but I feel I already have so much. It’s much nicer to share this with my staff.” With this Robin Hood attitude, you can bet Åke is a favorite among his employees. Says one of his workers, Stefan Wimo, a system developer: “Yes, one could say that (Åke is the greatest boss in the country). This will lead to an even greater solidarity at work, since we get to share in the success of the company.” And Åke adds that this is no PR-trick, neither a way for him to get his company in the limelight: “Not at all, it’s just a pleasure for me to share with my employees. It’s also the recipe for our success.”

Gender roles strengthened at school?
Thought Swedish schools were gender equal? Think again. One in every four municipalities gives extra money to schools with more boys, since boys in general don’t produce as great results as girls in school. And this in spite of the fact that one of the Swedish school’s missions is to treat boys and girls equal. Listen to what the 8-year olds at Mariaskolan in Stockholm said, when asked about the differences between boys and girls: “Girls like Barbies and jumping ropes, and the boys like to play war,” said Adrian. “Oh, I hate Barbies!” Greta said. “I’ve never seen a boy in a Hello Kitty shirt,” said Edit. Researchers tend to agree with Edit. Many studies show that children are met with traditional stereotypes of gender at an early age, and they are likely to recreate them. But the Swedish school, according to the curriculum, must work to counteract these stereotypes. Some of the differences between the sexes in Swedish schools are: Boys in teams are 10% less successful than girls, girls have better grades than boys in all subjects except physical education, girls are more stressed out about school than boys, and boys receive more attention from teachers than girls. Now there’s a delegation from the government looking at gender equality in the Swedish schools, and one of their tasks is to find out why boys are doing worse than girls. They will present their findings in November. Meanwhile the children at Mariaskolan are having arts and crafts. “Why can’t girls only have sewing?” Felicia asks while carding wool. ‘Yes, you get earaches from woodworks,” adds Wilma. “Woodworks is so much more fun,” says Hugo. The children notice the differences and ponder them. Says Mira: “In books and movies it is mostly girls that ride horses, I have no idea why it is like that, but I was born to love horses.” Thea wonders why girls can do boy stuff and dress like boys without being considered odd, while boys can’t dress or act like girls. Their teacher Annika Ahnegård says it is difficult for her to counteract stereotypes. She has worked as a teacher since 1974, and believes it’s more important to broaden the views for children. “But the girls have changed throughout the years,” she says. “They’ve gotten much tougher and assertive.”

Ella makes 3D film
The first Swedish 3D film will be “Kronjuvelerna” (Crown Jewels) by director Ella Lemhagen, and it will premiere next summer. Lemhagen will begin the shooting in August. “It’s an amazing film,” she says. “A bit in the Tim Burton tradition, for a broad and young audience and so we thought: ‘Why not make it in 3D?’ It’s going to be a great event.” “Kronjuvelerna” is a story about a young woman who is accused of having been involved in murder, but during a police interrogation she reveals her unlikely, but true, life story. Apart from being a feature, the film will also become a TV-series. Lemhagen’s earlier works include the films “Tsatsiki, morsan och polisen” and “Patrik 1,5”.

Roxette and Carola at the wedding
Victoria got what she wanted. She got Daniel Westling, of course, but another dream of hers is also coming true: Roxette and Carola will sing at her June wedding. Roxette, the Swedish group that was so popular during the 1990’s, will reunite for a unique concert during a festival the day before Victoria’s June 19 wedding. Victoria’s absolute favorite song is Roxette’s “The Look”. Roxette hasn’t performed much lately, due to Marie Fredriksson’s battle with cancer. Carola, also an amazing and beloved artist, will sing at the wedding dinner itself.