Working in Sweden



Sweden is not just famous for its miles of coastal islands and undeniable natural beauty but also because of its booming economy. Despite the financial slowdown in 2012, this Scandinavian nation recovered gracefully and has proven to the rest of the world that it is still capable of offering a multitude of thriving employment opportunities to locals and expats alike. 

Many foreign nationals from all parts of the globe have been drawn to work in this country because aside from its economic stability, Sweden is also well renowned for having an excellent welfare system and for offering great working conditions. Since 2015, Sweden’s GDP has grown at an exemplary rapid rate of 2%, and by 2016 it was one of the ten leading countries in the world with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of USD 51,603.94. 

Major Industries 

About 72.63% of Sweden’s GDP is generated by the service sector which includes hospitality and tourism. Expatriates that have a professional background in hotel and restaurant management, food and beverage, bar tending and other service related jobs can take advantage of the country’s booming tourism industry. Agriculture is also a major role player in this country’s economy along with industries. 

"Bureaucracy in Sweden is one of my biggest bug-bears. Everything has to be done to the letter and there is total inflexibility. They do not offer information, only letting you know when you ask a direct question!"- Tracy Morgan, Expat in Sweden

Sweden puts significant emphasis on foreign trade whereas its engineering sector is responsible for around 50% of its total exports and output. Other thriving industries in this country are automotive, telecommunications, pharmaceutical and manufacturing.

Average Salary 

The average monthly salary in Sweden is around 30,000 SEK (3,400 USD) or 166 SEK (18.81 USD) per hour. Locals that work in the manufacturing industry are said to earn roughly 33,305 SEK (3,775 USD) per month while the majority of the Swedish women that work in the healthcare sector take home around 24,176 SEK (2,740 USD) every month. Expats who will work in Stockholm can expect a higher wage but must prepare themselves to the high cost of living particularly when it comes to the price of goods and housing. 

Working Schedule 

Sweden's working conditions are considered one of the best in the world with 40 hours of work per week. Parents with children aged one to seven (1-7) can reduce their work time by up to 25%. Flexi-time is widely practised; Saturdays and Sundays are rest days, except for those who are in the transport, retail, tourism and public services. Overtime is limited to 50 hours within a month and exceeding 200 hours within 12 months is prohibited. 

Holiday and Maternity Leaves 

Employees enjoy at least 25 days of paid leave per year and at least four continuous weeks leave from June to August. However, if they resign without using the holiday leave, it can be converted into cash at 12% of salary. Even probationary, contractual and relief workers who have worked for more than 60 hours are entitled to this holiday pay at 12% salary. Employees are also entitled to take leave for other life events such as study, a business start-up, bereavement or a house move. 

Maternity leave begins seven weeks before the expected childbirth date and ends up to seven weeks after giving birth. Both parents may go on full-time leave from work until the infant turns 18 months old. Fathers enjoy ten days' of paid leave after birth. 

Income Tax 

When it comes to income tax, individuals in Sweden are either considered as limited or unlimited tax residents. Limited residents are taxed solely in their Swedish source of income while the unlimited residents will be taxed on their worldwide income. Foreign nationals or non-residents working for a Swedish employer or a multinational company with a permanent establishment or PE in Sweden will be taxed at a flat rate of 20% at source. 

Below is a table that displays the employment income tax for residents: 

Taxable Income in SEK

National Income Tax Rate

Municipal Income Tax Rate


0 %





Over 638,600



Business Culture 

When you land your desired job in Sweden, you're assured to experience the work-life balance that Swedes are proud of and expats come to Sweden for. This country is also famous for its egalitarian business culture whereas every person is given an equal right and opportunity to reach his full potential. When it comes to working environment, expats will soon notice the lack of formal hierarchy whereas all employees are empowered to make decisions for the benefit of the company. 

Business attire, on the other hand, is conservative. Smart business casual is the common wardrobe of most employees in this country so men should wear suits and women should choose dresses that don't show too much skin. 

Finding a Job 

Expats should expect the job competition in Sweden is fierce. Aside from the fact that the locals are nationals of the EU and EEA are highly prioritised when it comes to employment, foreign assignees must also have at least a basic knowledge in speaking Swedish. The internet is the most common way to look for a job in this country. Expats can also consider seeking help from an employment agency or visit the website of the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) for job opportunities. 


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Working in Stockholm

Work Guide

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