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Working in Sweden is a dream for many people because of its high quality of life, great health care, and a strong economy. But before you pack your bags and move to Sweden, you must know about the work culture, benefits, and work permits you’ll need to know to do well in your new job.

This page will tell you everything you need to know about working in Sweden, from the work culture to the benefits and work permits. After reading this page, you can make one of the most important decisions of your life and move to Sweden to work.

Swedish working life

In Sweden, the way people work may be very different from what you may have seen in other places. In Sweden, workplaces are flexible, people often work together, and being on time is a big deal.

International talent is a vital part of the Swedish workforce. Some estimates say that they make up about 10% of the entire Swedish workforce. Because there needs to be more skilled workers in some industries in Sweden, there is a need for foreign workers in different jobs. The Swedish government has put in place a number of plans to bring talented people from other countries to Sweden.

Work-life balance in Sweden

First, you need to know that balancing work and free time is an essential part of the Swedish (and Nordic) way of life. Flexibility is one of the most important things to achieve that balance. Many companies that hire people for white-collar or administrative jobs let them choose their own hours. This means you can work from home and set your own hours. In blue-collar and production jobs, you are expected to have one or two hours of flexibility at the beginning and end of your day as long as you work for the required amount of time.

Working together

Second, working together is very important in Swedish places of work. The Swedish way of life is marked by team meetings, working together, and sharing ideas in workshops. In Sweden, there is very little hierarchy in the way things are set up. Instead, the hierarchy is pretty flat. In practice, everyone can give their ideas and thoughts and take part in making decisions. Even when people disagree, their thoughts are still taken into account. Meetings are collaborative, and everyone can take part in discussions.


Also, like in other Nordic countries, being on time is very important in Sweden. When you show up on time, people get the impression that you care about them and their time. On the other hand, most people don’t like it when you’re late. Some people take being on time so seriously that they always arrive a few minutes early for meetings and appointments.


Lastly, one thing you will notice about Swedish people is that they care about equality. Swedish companies and workplaces try hard to give everyone the same chances, no matter what race, gender, or background they come from. In many places of work, inclusiveness and diversity aren’t just nice words, but they are a cornerstone of the workplace.

Benefits of Working in Sweden

Sweden’s policy on parental leave is one of the best in the world. The government gives new parents 480 days of paid leave, which can be split between them. No matter if a person is working or not, they can use Sweden’s world-class health care system. This means you won’t have to worry about the cost of getting good medical care.

Swedish workers get at least 25 paid vacation days per year, more than many other countries. This gives you a lot of time to go on trips, spend time with family, or do things you enjoy. Most people take a summer vacation and a winter vacation every year so that they can spend as much time as possible with their families and close friends.

Sweden has a strong safety net for people who need help. If you lose your job, you can apply for unemployment benefits and other ways to get help. This can help you get back on your feet and give you peace of mind when things are hard.

Languages and how people communicate in Sweden

Swedish is the official language in Sweden. But a lot of people in Sweden and the other Nordic countries speak English. According to an EU survey in 2016, 96.6% of Swedes say they can speak at least one other language. So, you’ll be able to find work in Sweden if you speak English. People often speak English, especially in bigger cities and among younger people.

Even though many people speak English, it’s always easier to talk to locals when you speak their language. Foreigners living in Sweden can take free “Swedish for immigrants” (Sfi) classes, which are put on by the Swedish government and local governments. These courses are free for anyone over 16 with a Swedish personal identity number. Using a language is the best way to learn it, so even if you take a class, you should be brave and at least try to speak Swedish with the locals.

Work permits in Sweden

EU citizens can work in Sweden without a separate working permit. You can go to Sweden to look for a job. When you have a right of residence in Sweden, your family also can join you in Sweden. One thing to remember when entering Sweden is that you and your family members must have valid passports or national ID card that shows your citizenship. 

Non-EU citizens must usually apply for a work permit to work in Sweden. To be eligible to get a work permit, you must have received an employment offer from a Swedish employer. In addition, there are other requirements. For example:

There are a couple of exceptions for non-EU employees. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea between the ages of 18 and 30 can apply for a working holiday visa for up to one year.

Nordic citizens can live and work freely in Sweden without registering with the Migration Agency. However, citizens of Nordic countries must register with the tax agency to get a Swedish personal identity number.

The Swedish Migration Agency has the most up-to-date and in-depth information about the conditions for working permits in Sweden. Please take a look at their website to learn more >> 

Interested in other Nordic countries? Take a look.