Johan Areskoug, Human Resource Management and Working Life
What do you do today?
“I am Director of Compensation and Benefits at Spotify. This means that I work with everything from salaries, bonuses and options schemes to health insurance and other employment benefits. We rely on a reward philosophy and employ basic pay-setting principles and strategies. I have worked at Spotify since January 2015 and really enjoy my work.”
“I was in the area of consumer products before and worked at Mondelez International, which owns products like Marabou, Toblerone, Gevalia and Philadelphia cheese. I also worked with salaries there and was the head of HR for a period. I also worked at Procter & Gamble, where I focused on labour law in the Nordic region. Before that I worked as a consultant and managing consultant.”
Why did you choose the Human Resource Management and Working Life programme?
“Before I started studying, I was an officer during my military service, and this sparked my interest in staffing issues and how one motivates people. I am also interested in law and considered becoming a lawyer for a while. In Karlstad I could combine law and human resource questions through the specialisation in labour law, and this made my choice an easy one.”
Have you benefitted from your education?
“Yes, indeed, particularly from the labour law component, which is important to know about if one works in human resources. In addition to my studies, I have also benefitted from being involved in the Pelikan society for HR students at Karlstad University. I also chaired the national association of HR students, Sveriges personalvetarstuderandes riksförbund, for a time. Both these tasks were great learning experiences, they were fun and resulted in a good network. This actually led to my first job after completing my studies.”
Which tips do you have for current students?
“Try to learn a lot about labour law, even if this is not the specialisation you choose. Knowledge of finances is also good to have if you want to justify investments in HR to persons working in other areas. I have also benefitted from being able to analyse and present data in an understandable way. However, it is most important to work with something you are passionate about and not to think too tactically. If you are passionate about something you will become good at that and it will later be easier to get a job that you enjoy.”
What does the future hold for you?
“Spotify is an interesting company that is growing and developing and I enjoy working there. It is interesting to be part of the company’s development and I also develop the whole time in my job. During my professional life, I have so far alternated between being a generalist and a specialist, and I think I’ll continue to do so in future. To me, the most important things are taking part, influencing development and learning new things. It is also important that the values and culture of my workplace align with my own.”