Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
Insurance, FX and international movers
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Sweden - Finding Employment

The financial crisis of 2008 was just a blip on the radar for Sweden, with the country seeing stronger economic growth year upon year and a thriving job market as a result. The sectors which are expanding and continuing to offer more work as broadcast by the Swedish Public Employment Service are healthcare, IT, construction, electronics and public services. Jobs often rely on high school education or vocational qualifications, so those who have a trade can find employment easily in roles such as truck drivers, chefs and construction workers. As Sweden has a lack of skilled workers it is often possible for non natives to gain employment in engineering and similar industries. The retirement age for both women and men is 65.

Unemployment as of February 2017 was listed at 7.8%. The unemployment rate among younger people (16-24 years) is currently around 19%. The latest figures from national employment agency Arbetsförmedlingen show that unemployment varies across the country, with some of the highest areas of unemployment being two counties in the west, Gävleborg County with just over 11% and Södermanland with 11%. The North sees lower unemployment with highs of 9.1% in Västernorrland County and lows of 6.8% in Västerbotten. Stockholm sees rates of 6% whilst the south sees peaks in Skåne and Blekinge of 10.5%. The west comes in around the same as the national average.

Foreign born residents struggle to find a job more than locally born residents. In fact, the the highest demographic for unemployment is non EU natives living in Sweden. The Swedish Public Employment Agency has set up a programme called korta vägen (the short cut) which allows foreign academics to transition into suitable roles. Additionally, asylum seekers with an AT-UND certificate can obtain work experience via the Migration Agency.

Generally, locals and expats find jobs via newspapers, word of mouth, online job sites and employment agencies. Unsolicited applications are a route which some take and are worth trying. Hand delivering or sending CVs and covering letters to companies (after researching the necessary details and addressing it to the appropriate individual or branch of the company) can get you considered for current roles or future roles. Multinationals present in Sweden include Ericsson, H&M, Electrolux, Volvo (all have headquarters in Stockholm) Jeeves, Cision, Soundcloud and Spotify, all of which employ English speakers.

Not speaking Swedish can hinder business and personal relationships in the workplace. Whether it’s talking to clients, exchanging niceties during the afternoon fika or being able to contribute in a meeting, not speaking the local language will mean you miss out on a great deal of potential communication. Bilingual native colleagues will also be considered for more roles than monolingual workers, so not speaking Swedish can be a key professional disadvantage.

Recruitment agencies (unless specialising in employment for foreign workers) will be in contact with local candidates first so it is necessary to be proactive and call regularly to enquire about roles.

To work in Sweden, both EU members (after 3 months of working in Sweden) and non EU citizens require a Personnummer, which acts as a social security number, tax number and personal identification number. A Personnummer can be retrieved from the Skatteverket Office.

CVs (résumés) should be 1-2 pages long with cover letters (personligt brev) at 1 page only. Getting your personality and interests across in the CV is important as well as listing your references, experience and skills. Companies may have a role you fit, but they need to see you as a person fitting into their workplace. Applications and feedback can take time but if you make it through the selection process expect at least one interview, along with perhaps some skills tests. All of this will most likely be conducted in a fairly informal setting. Bring certifications and your portfolio. If you are outside Sweden then a Skype interview may be planned instead of face to face.

Job sites

When it comes to applying for a job ensure that your cover letter (ansökningsbrev) is not longer than a page. If you are unable to write in Swedish, write in English. The CV (meritförteckning) should be 1 to 2 pages, complete with references.

The Swedish Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) offers guidance on job applications and terms.

The government employment service also has some guidance and tips.

Stepstone is a Swedish language website which lists thousands of jobs. Upload your CV and apply and be potentially headhunted by recruiters. (translation tool required).

Metrojobb is a Swedish language website with many job listings for graduates, entry level and management level roles at multinational corporations.

Swedishwire is a Swedish website listing a host of jobs in various cities over Sweden in part time, full time and temporary roles.

AcademicWork is a job site for students, graduates and young professionals.

Recruitment agencies

Hammer & Hanborg
Offering job opportunities in Stockholm, the Mälardalen region, central Sweden and northern Sweden.
Address: Riddargatan 7A, Box 5446, 114 84 Stockholm.
Tel: +46 (0) 8-459 03 50

Maxkompetens Produktion i Sverige
Recruitment agency specialising in IT, engineering and industry.
Address: Herkulesgatan 12, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden City
Tel:+46 (0) 08-120753 00

Incluso Recruitment
Recruiters specialising in business administration and finance, marketing and sales, law and accounting, HR and communication, IT and design, science and pharmaceuticals, engineering and architecture.
Address: Sveavägen 56 C,111 34 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel:+46 (0) 0704-17 44 19 (recruitment manager)

In Sweden there is also seasonal work and temporary work available. If you join an agency you will be privy to their listings for temporary work which may be office based, in construction or substituting for someone in a role. There is also temporary work in fisheries. For seasonal work, some work the harvest in the south with crop picking jobs or other agricultural jobs. Others head to seaside resorts such as Göteborg and work in catering and hospitality.

Working illegally, or ‘working black’, as it is known, is a very risky business. As Sweden is part of the EU, the individual will be deported to their home country and potentially banned from Sweden or from the EU if they are a non EU citizen. They may face penalties as would the employer, and possible legal charges. Workers will have little to no rights and without paying taxes or having a Personnummer, they will not be able to access healthcare, insurance, a bank account or rent a property.

Networking groups:

How She Got There
Female networking group connecting creative and tech professionals to mentor, met and attend talks.

B.U.I.L.D (Businesses United for Innovation, Learning and Development)
International networking group for entrepreneurs of different trades to share ideas, visions and learn from each others' expertise.

Inclusive Business Sweden
Linkedin group for networking, sharing knowledge and discussion for the business people of Sweden.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

Copyright © 2019 Expat Focus. All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Comments are property of their posters.
Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy