Sweden has a lot of opportunities on the job market, but can often be perceived as a tough market for foreigners to understand and to enter. The structure of the job market is very important to be aware of before you can navigate it and start finding your dream job. Stockholm is dominated by the service sector and especially IT, Life Science and professional services industries.
Nordic citizens do not need any permit or registration to live and work in Sweden. As an EU/EEA citizen, you have the right to work in Sweden without a work and residence permit.
If you want to work in Sweden and come from a country that is not a part of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you must have work and residence permits. You also need a residence permit to start or run your own business or become a part owner of a company. If you have had a residence permit for at least five years in an EU member state but are not an
EU citizen, you may be able to obtain the status of long-term resident in that country. Long-term residents have certain rights which are similar to those of EU citizens. If you intend to reside in Sweden, you shall register at the local Tax Office. This process is called folkbokföring.
Most of the jobs advertised in Sweden are dedicated to those who speak good Swedish. However, there is always a possibility to find work for applicants who are fluent only in English-for example within large international companies where the corporate language is English.
Temp agencies and recruiting companies can be a good way to find employment.
If you are already living in Sweden, you can register as a job seeker at your local Public Employment Service office, Arbetsförmedlingen. Consult the website or contact them directly for more information on the help and services they can offer you. Addresses and phone numbers for all of their offices can be found at the below link
In Sweden, job applications usually consist of a CV and a covering letter. The covering letter should not be longer than one page while the CV can be somewhat longer, depending on how much education and experience you have. Both of these should be in Swedish unless otherwise specified. In general, you do not need to send your diplomas or other documents with your application. If an employer wants to see them, he or she will ask you to bring them to an interview.
Many job ads in Sweden include telephone numbers you can call if you have any questions about the position.
Swedish multinationals like Volvo, IKEA and Skanska, large national banks, public sector employers and other companies regularly tour employment fairs to meet potential new employees. Employment fairs offer a chance to browse and network amongst employers in your field and participate in one-on-one interviews and useful seminars. Major fairs include CHARM at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Handelsdagarna at the Stockholm School of Economics, eee-days at Lund University and Uniaden at Umeå University. There are also fairs not linked to universities, like Career Days in Stockholm.
It’s important that you come prepared; bring a stack of CVs and cover letters, and think of which companies you want to talk to and how to impress them. Send follow-up emails to the company representatives you spoke to – they could be a useful future contact.
A regulated profession is one that requires some kind of license or registration in order to work in that field. If a profession is not regulated, you are allowed to work within it without formal recognition from any authority. Some of the regulated professions in Sweden are physicians, dentists, electricians, veterinarians, lawyers, psychologists and security guards. It is common for job seekers within all professions to send their CV and covering letter to companies they are interested in working for, even if they do not currently have any vacancies advertised. this kind of spontaneous application should also be written in Swedish.
Unlike many other countries, Sweden has no minimum wage law. Instead, wages are set by collective bargaining agreements between employers and unions. Therefore, labour unions can be a good source of information on salary levels in Sweden. Statistics on average salaries in Sweden by profession are available on Statistics Sweden’s website
A job in Sweden can be either a permanent or a temporary position. Most permanent positions are preceded by a trial period of three to six months during which the employer can fire an employee at will. Once a position is permanent, certain conditions must be met before an employer is allowed to fire an employee.
In accordance with EU law, Swedish employers must provide the employee with a written contract within 30 days if he or she requests one. The Eures network encourages all employees to request a written contract from their employer.
Sweden is well-known for prioritizing quality of life in its labour laws. For example, parents of children up to a certain age have the right to work part-time, a right of which many Swedes take advantage of. Parents who miss work in order to take care of a sick child (up to a certain age) can also receive compensation for lost income.
All workers in Sweden receive at least five weeks of paid vacation per year. Sweden also has generous laws for parental leave for new parents.
Unions have a strong position in Sweden. Joining one as a student can be a great way to get your foot in the door in your industry. Many have special offers for students, including services like career guidance or CV assistance. They can also offer advice on salary negotiations, and once you’ve found a job, they can support you in workplace matters.
The three main trade union confederations are SACO, TCO and LO, each made up of a larger number of individual unions, representing most professions in Sweden.
Swedish social insurance is financed mainly through employers’ contributions, with only a small proportion being covered by individual contributions. The social insurance is administered by Försäkringskassan and you will find more detailed information about it at www.forsakringskassan.se
The social insurance covers various benefits related to sickness, disability, having children and retirement. It is possible to take out extra insurance through insurance companies – this is sometimes offered by your trade union. Some employers also provide extra insurance coverage as a staff benefit.
If you have to stay home from work because of illness, you receive no wages or sick pay the first day. As part of the publicly funded social insurance, you only have to pay a moderate set fee when visiting a doctor or physiotherapist within the national health scheme. Dental care is free for children up to a certain age. After that, you have to pay part or the entire cost yourself.
The rules for parental leave in Sweden and the financial benefits paid during parental leave are very generous in comparison with most countries. For more information about parental leave and the amount of benefits paid, please visit The Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s website at:
Unemployment insurance in Sweden is not part of the social insurance administered by Försäkringskassan. Unemployment insurance is publicly funded to a great extent. There is a basic unemployment insurance providing low-level benefit to those who meet the criteria.
You need to join a voluntary unemployment insurance fund in order to receive an income-based benefit if you become unemployment. Which fund you choose often depends on your profession, although there is one fund where membership is open to all professions and another which is open to anyone in a graduate profession.
In order to receive benefits you must meet certain criteria.
For both the basic unemployment benefit and the income-based benefit, work in another EU/EEA-country can be taken into account under certain circumstances to help qualify for benefits.
In Sweden parents are entitled to share 480 days of parental leave when a child is born or adopted. This leave can be taken by the month, week, day or even by the hour. Women still use most of the days, with men taking around one-fourth of the parental leave on average.
For 390 days, parents are entitled to nearly 80 per cent of their pay, the remaining 90 days are paid at a flat daily rate of SEK 180. Even those who are not in employment are also entitled to paid parental leave.
Of those 480 days, sixty days of leave is reserved for the father. In addition, one of the parents of the new-born baby gets 10 extra days of leave in connection with the birth, or 20 days if they are twins. Adopting parents are entitled to a total of 480 days between them from the day the child comes under their care. A single parent is entitled to the full 480 days.
Thinking about starting a business in Sweden? There is plenty of support available for setting up a business.
Here you can find all information about how to start up your business.
Starting a business in Sweden
Where can you work?
to work – jobba, arbeta
job advertisement – en jobbannons
employer – en arbetsgivare
employment contract – ett anställningsavtal
salary – en lön
company – ett företag
Internship/trainee - praktik
full time employment – heltidsanställning
part time employment – deltidsanställning