Considering that the unemployment rate in Sweden (before the viral outbreak) has reached the lowest level in the last 10 years, it is quite easy to find work here, as in the other Scandinavian countries. But to be able to work in Sweden, you need to know the Swedish language. I recommend reaching at least a B1 level of proficiency in Swedish.
The Swedish economy is the most important of the Nordic countries and its strength lies in the high technology of the industrial and IT sectors. It should also be mentioned that the quality of life in Sweden is very high:
- workers are fully protected in their rights and can easily apply for family reunification once they get a job
- jobs are well paid (even considering the higher cost of living and a high tax system)
- the good quality of wages (minimum wages are provided for each job)
- the almost perfect parity for each minority, the social security system, from parental leave (at least 90 days per parent) to crèches open 24 hours (for those who work shifts)
In any case, Sweden is a country where you can look for work without knowing Swedish, only English. Remember that this will not be a walk in the park and you must be prepared to make sacrifices. It is possible that you will have to start working for a cleaning company (which are always looking for staff and where it is not necessary to speak Swedish). Here you will earn what you need to make a living. In the meantime, by studying, you will acquire a level of Swedish language skills that will allow you to change jobs.
Other workers who can find a job in Sweden without knowing Swedish, but only knowing English, include specialists:
- IT Specialist, IT is an industry that is growing rapidly and where there is a great need for new talent. Since the domestic Swedish workforce cannot meet this demand, many companies are looking for skilled workers from abroad. Many startups often need workers quickly to grow
- Engineers and financial experts. Like tech companies, large international companies can sponsor work permits for skilled talent
Note, however, that in many cases applications from people living outside the country are not considered. Therefore, once you are in Sweden, I recommend that you immediately change your LinkedIn account and provide your Swedish address.
There are many jobs for which there is a great demand, both for highly skilled and unskilled jobs.
From the surveys conducted by the National Network of Employment Offices, the most in-demand jobs are as follows:
- IT sector
- healthcare jobs (doctors, nurses, etc.)
- educational and teaching jobs (teachers, etc.)
- commercial professions (sales personnel, etc.)
- legal and financial professions
Requests for workers from other countries are constantly increasing, as you can see on the shortage list compiled by the Immigration Service and the Public Employment Service. Sweden is currently complaining about labor shortages in various sectors, from agriculture to engineering, from health care to construction. The list was intentionally written in Swedish only to make it clear that you should learn at least the basics of the language before moving to the country. If you are offered a job from the list, you can apply for a work permit from Sweden instead of returning to your country to apply.
Work in Sweden, visas
If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU and want to work in Sweden, you will usually need a work permit, which is easiest to apply for online. To obtain a work permit, you must have received an official job offer from a Swedish company. There are also a number of other requirements that you must meet.
Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa entitles you to work in Sweden for up to one year. You can obtain it if:
- you are a citizen of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea or Uruguay
- you are 18-30 years old
- you have at least 15,000 SEK so that you can initially support yourself in Sweden
- you have a return ticket or enough money to buy one
- you have health insurance
Working in Sweden, useful resources
- Working in Sweden useful guide to working in Sweden
- Migrationsverket the website of the Swedish Immigration Service (in English)
- Living and working in Sweden, a small guide
- Starting up a business, what you need to know and do to start and run a business
- Academicum, website of the Public Employment Service, which offers foreign graduates an entry program into the Swedish labor market
- Sweeden Career Guide, information and advice on how to find work in Sweden
In Sweden, some professions are regulated and you need a license to practice them. The body responsible for the recognition of academic qualifications is the Högskolerådet
For health professions you can contact the Socialstyrelsen
Work in Sweden, job search
To search for work, you have several options:
1 Linkedin, to get in touch with Swedish companies/recruiters
2 Arbetsformedlingen, (Public Employment Service), helps people find jobs. It provides information, advice and job offers
3 Eures, European job website
4 Job Search Engine
- Monster, international job search engine
5 International recruitment agencies
- Adecco, international recruitment agency
- Manpower, international recruitment agency
- Ransatd, international recruitment agency
- Careerbuilder, international recruitment agency
6 Local recruitment agencies
- Lernia, (in Swedish)
- Academic Work, (in Swedish)
- Uniflex, (in Swedish)
- Ework group, (in English)
- Jobbland, (in Swedish)
- Jobbmaskinen, (in Swedish)
- Jobbsafari, (in Swedish)
- Offentliga, (in Swedish)
7 Job Search websites
- The Local, (english language jobs)
- Vakanser, (in Swedish)
- Jobs in Stockolm, (in English)
- Academic Search, (in Swedish)
- Allaannonser, (in Swedish
- Metrojobb, (in Swedish)
- CSjobb, (in Swedish)
- Blocket, (in Swedish)
- Trainee, (internship in Swedish)
- Jobbplus, (in Swedish)
- Jobbet, (in Swedish)
- Jobted, (in Swedish)
8 Direct contact with companies
If you are interested in working for a particular company, you can apply directly for a job. Many companies have a careers page on their websites. If you do not find the career page on a company’s website, you can contact the company directly and ask for an open application.
- Europages, directory of European companies
- Kompass, global portal to search for companies
- Localdelen, Swedish Yellow Pages
Below I show you the locations of the main Swedish companies:
- Electrolux, multinational household manufacturer
- Ericsson, multinational telecommunications company
- H&M, multinational clothing company
- Ikea, one of the world’s largest furniture retailers
- Spotify, audio streaming and media services provider
- Volvo, multinational manufacturing company
Work in Sweden, hospitality jobs
In the large hotels in Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as in the venues on the west coast, the demand for staff is always very high, especially in the summer
The most sought after jobs are generally: caregiver, receptionist, waiter, cleaning staff and kitchen staff.
I refer to some websites:
- Compass Group, large catering service company
- Catererglobal, hospitality jobs all over the the world
Working in Sweden conclusion
You should know that companies do not usually hire “remotely” (unless it’s a highly skilled worker who is hard to find locally). For job search, Linkedin remains the best option or you can try to contact companies by applying yourself. For the website of Arbetsfoermedlingen, (the Swedish employment office, if you do not know Swedish it is unlikely to help you).
Do not think that wages in Sweden are very high. Yes, they are high, but you will have to deal with the high cost of living, especially housing when you find it! Because the biggest problem in Swedish cities is finding a place to live.
Remember that without a basic knowledge of Swedish, it is not so easy to find a job, unless we are talking about the engineering or IT sector. In the big cities you might find a job in cleaning or hospitality, but given the salary I do not know if it’s worth it.
In Sweden, it is common to be asked what your salary expectations are when you apply for a job. Most salaries are set on an individual basis. The salary changes depending on:
- the type of work
- the demanding nature of the job
- the degree of responsibility
- their competences/skills
- the average salary in the profession
Salaries are usually revisited on a monthly basis and can vary greatly depending on the area. All information about the different jobs in Sweden can be found on the Unionen website
For those who are considering starting their own business in Sweden, I recommend first checking with the Swedish Embassy to find out what documents and requirements are needed to open a business in Sweden, then take a Swedish language course, and finally travel to Sweden for 2/3 weeks to test the country.
A final consideration, not related to work but to life in Sweden, is imperative. Many think that if they move to Sweden to work, they will have to leave behind many of the problems that plague their country. But that is not the case. Sweden also has crime that is constantly on the rise, racism and prejudice are present as in all countries of the world, and winters are long and dark.
Apart from that, there are many realities and everyone has their own personal experiences: those who manage to make many friends, those who cannot integrate socially, those who are satisfied professionally, those who cannot learn the language, and so on. Therefore, it is not possible to give a single answer to the question of what it is like to live and work in Sweden.