Thursday, March 19, 2015

Moving to Sweden - Most Common Jobs and Salaries

Sometimes when I get bored, I start searching for answers to life’s burning questions. Why am I here? What did I do to deserve this? Who is Luke’s father? Why does my eyeball make a clicking sound late at night? You know, normal, everyday questions.

Then, having exhausted Google, I usually end up trying to answer questions I get about moving to Sweden. Half the time, I don’t have any idea what the answer is. And by half the time I mean all the time. Lately, I’ve had a lot of people asking me about moving to Sweden. Mostly about housing, but sometimes about cost of living, salaries, money stuff.

I’ve been working as a graduate student for several years now and haven’t had a job in Sweden since 2010. Not being an active member of the Swedish workforce got me thinking though. What does a member of the Swedish workforce actually make?

That’s not an easy question to answer, obviously. There are a lot of jobs to choose from. Luckily Sweden tracks everything. Everything. So with a little help from Statistiska centralbyrån, I was able to identify the top 30 most common occupations in all of Sweden as of 2013, the most recent year for statistics. It’s an interesting list that even breaks things down by gender. Fun fact, 99% of carpenters and joiners are men. That’s a solid 47,455 men. But 93% of assistant nurses and hospital ward assistants. That’s 162 840 women.

Finding out the most common occupations in Sweden is fun, but a wise man once said “Show me the money.” I’m joking. He wasn’t wise. He was kind of a dick. And he was in a terrible movie. Anyway, if you’re going to work, you deserve to be paid. Turns out though that if you’re a woman, you’re probably not going to be paid as much as your male counterparts. Of the 30 most common jobs, women earn more than men in four of them. Only one job has an equal monthly salary and nine have salaries in which men only make 1 000 SEK per month more than women. This isn’t a post about gender equality in the workforce or the wage gap. That’s a thing that exists. We know that. It is interesting to note though that for the 1 169 684 women in the top 30 jobs in Sweden, the average monthly salary is 27 830 SEK. There are only 769 808 men in those same jobs and they are pulling in a cool 29 333 SEK per month.

There's plenty of fun information in the chart below, but it is really just meant to give you an idea about general salaries in Sweden. It’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into if you get a job offer, whether it’s because you want to negotiate a better salary or just budget a bit before your move. Because I was interested in the top jobs and the average salaries, I pulled from a few different queries and so the spreadsheet below is a static image of information you can find on SCB:

Most Common Swedish Occupations as of 2013 with Average Monthly Salaries
Click to enlarge.

I’ve included SCB’s own translations above, but included the occupation code in case you want to change the parameters of your search. There’s plenty you can do, although most of it is in Swedish. Want to search by occupation title (in Swedish)? Want to search by region, sector, occupation code, gender (in Swedish)?

Welcome to Sweden. And working all night and working all day to pay the bills you have to pay.

Looking for more information about moving to Sweden? Check out the rest of the series below:

Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – The Weather
Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden – Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana


  1. @ Hairy Swede

    Thanks so much for your blog posts. My husband and i are planning to move to Malmo next summer so i can attend graduate school. I am wondering if these numbers you posted are before taxes of after taxes? Am i right to assume that everyone is generally taxed at around 30% of their income?
    Thanks for your help!

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