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Living and working in Sweden

Kelly Shirley our consultant managing the role
Posted by Kelly Shirley
Published on 25 February 2020
In 2020 the population of Sweden surpassed 10 million; it’s hard to believe that the third largest country in the European Union has a population the size of London. Despite its relatively small population Sweden has presented us with revolutionary brands such as Spotify, IKEA and introduced the world’s most prestigious award system - the Nobel Prize. It’s therefore no surprise that these pioneers were crowned the EU ‘innovation leader’ in 2019. Not only does this reputation mean there are great work opportunities in Sweden, but the country is renowned for its excellent work-life balance. Though their official working week is 40 hours, in 2019 Swedish residents reported that on average they worked a 30.2 hours week

The cost of living

Sweden is ranked as the 13th most expensive country to live in – eight spots ahead of the UK. Though the rent is 17% higher in the UK what makes Sweden so pricey is their significant personal income tax which has most of the nation paying between 49-60%. But this steep rate means that inhabitants benefit from 480 days paid parental leave, subsidised healthcare and dental care, and free education up to and including university.

And it’s not just the rent that is cheaper - local train tickets are less costly in Sweden too. Stockholm’s metro stations are more than just a way of getting around, they’re a work of art. Over 90 of the stations have been decorated in every form, from mosaics, paintings, installations and sculptures, so you needn’t stray from your typical commute to get your daily dose of culture.

A country with four distinct seasons

47% of Sweden’s GDP is generated in Stockholm, the country’s capital city which spans 14 islands across the southeast coast. But this archipelago is just a fragment of the vast coastline that helps Sweden generate their renewable energy. And if you turn your sights inland, you’ll find over half the country covered by dense forest. With that much woodland and 18 hours of sunlight in the summer, there is no excuse not to tick off all these hiking trails in Sweden.

The colder months are not something to be put off by because this is when the true beauty of the country can be seen. For starters, there are the frozen waterfalls in Abisko National Park which incidentally many scientists rate as being the top spot to see the Northern Lights from. There are multiple mountain ranges in Sweden to experience world-class skiing - one being just 20 minutes from Stockholm. But if you’re more of a supporter than participator you can enjoy an exhilarating game of ice hockey from the sidelines; with half the nation following the game, you’ll easily be swept up in the sport.

High quality of life

Sweden is split into 20 counties and because of their decentralised healthcare, each is individually responsible for how it is administered, meaning all residents benefit from a better quality of service that is subsidised. Another factor that contributes to Sweden’s status as a progressive country is their commitment to social protection, which includes sickness and disability; family; housing; R&D and social exclusion. In 2016 42% of Sweden’s public spending was allocated to this making it the main benefactor of the annual budget. Sweden’s focus on healthcare and R&D extends to the life sciences sector which has allowed the industry’s exports to reach a record-high in 2018.

And because taking a break from work is important for everyone’s health the whole nation makes time for ‘Fika’ every day. Loosely translated it means “a coffee and cake break” but to Swedes it means so much more; it’s a time of the day where you unwind, connect with friends and colleagues, and share some homemade treats.

Sweden is recognised as a top exporter of ICT services

In 2018 the OECD announced that Sweden sat in their top 10 list for export of ICT services yet the major threat to the sector’s growth is the shortage of ICT skills. Industry experts predict that by 2022 this shortage will result in a deficit of 70,000 people with technology-related competencies if the government doesn’t react. So has there been a better time to search for ICT jobs in Sweden?

Find your next job in Sweden

Whether you’re looking for ICT jobs or perhaps a job in renewable energy, Quanta can help you take your career overseas. We place candidates in contract and permanent roles around the globe and our dedicated mobilisation teams develop bespoke packages to help with the relocation. If you’d like more information about how Quanta can help you find your next job contact us today.