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Sweden is an extremely popular market for expats, famous for great working conditions, gender equality and a good work-life balance. If you are planning to live and work in Sweden, you should be aware of the state of the labour market in general and in your area — as well as the requirements and formalities needed based on your nationality. Generally speaking, EU nationals will have a much easier time finding work in Sweden than third-country nationals. However, Sweden has many tools in place that will help facilitate your search. 

The labour market in Sweden

Sweden is world famous for providing a pleasant and efficient workspace with motivating conditions. Indeed, you will enjoy a new more relaxed and planned working environment than what you are probably used to. Hierarchy tends to be less strict, with the manager and the employees very frequently making decisions together. But being relaxed should not be confused with slacking: employees are expected to always be on time and to fulfil their tasks in a timely manner.

Unlike in many European countries, there is no official minimum wage in Sweden. Wages are negotiated between the unions/organisations and the employers for each profession. Unions are very important in the Swedish labour market: joining one is optional, but you are advised to do so and you are advised to join one (there are fees involved). That way, remuneration is considered fair in Sweden and remains so, as unions keep negotiating for raises on a frequent basis.

The legal working week in Sweden consists of 40 hours. Each employee is entitled to 25 days of leave, excluding 16 public holidays and 6 half days a year. In some cases, employees may have to perform extra hours. Note that extra hours are either remunerated at an hourly plus rate of 50% to 100% or refunded in additional leaves.

Although there are differences depending on where you are based, the Swedish labour market, in general, is rather open towards expats. Hence, you are likely to be hired in the following fields: commercial services, construction, education, engineering, catering, health care, industry, information and communication technology, machine operating, science, mechanics, transports, etc.

Finding work as an EU/EFTA national

If you’re an EU national, finding work in Sweden will be much simpler as you can start working right away — no work permit or residence permit required. You also have the EURES database at your disposal: a collection of job listings from public employment agencies within the EU, designed to encourage European mobility.

 Good to know:

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) is currently managing a project called “Your first EURES job”. If you’re between 18-35 years old, you should contact an EURES Adviser/assistant or a Public Employment Officer and they will help you with your job search and relevant advice.

 Useful link:

EURES Database

Finding work as a third-country national

Finding work in Sweden as a third-country national is going to be more complicated and time-consuming, but that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged! The key in your case is to start your search well before you travel to Sweden, as you will need an employment offer in order to get a work permit in most cases. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that before offering the job to a third-country national, employers must make sure they have properly advertised it so that it was accessible to Swedes first, and if there was no local or EU talent, then third-country nationals can be hired.

However, you will not be without resources. The Public Employment Agency along with the Swedish Migration Agency created a list on the occupations that are high in demand called “labour shortage list”. If you find a job in one of those fields, you can apply for a work permit directly from Sweden — you don’t have to wait in your home country until your papers are sorted out.

Where to look for employment in Sweden

Most job vacancies in Sweden are available in Swedish. Hence, it is best to have some knowledge of Swedish if you intend to work in the country. Feel free to browse ads on general and specialised job websites, as well as on professional social networks and other virtual platforms. Spontaneous job applications to companies who are not currently looking to hire are definitely not a bad idea in Sweden and doing so in person may go a long way. There are also various employment fairs you should be aware of: most of them are associated with universities, but some of them are targeting professionals. Companies such as IKEA and Volvo tend to look for employees at these fairs.

 Useful links:

Finding a job in Sweden
Career Builder
Blocket: Jobb
Jobb Safari
Monster
Metro Jobb
Stepstone

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.