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Sweden: Job Search and Business Culture

If you get the chance to start working in Sweden as an expat, don’t hesitate! The country rewards you with job experience in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. Competition can be fierce, though. We give you all the essential info on working in Sweden, from taxes to the expat job market.
Sweden's labor shortage list might help you look for employment.

The Job Search

EURES is the job database run by the EU Public Employment Service. It is also a valuable source that you should not hesitate to use during your job search. EURES also provides a targeted mobility scheme for EU, Norwegian and Icelandic nationals between the ages of 18 and 35 who use the service to find a job. This scheme is running until January 2017 and provides financial support for travelling to interviews and for getting settled once you first arrive.

Another way to find work in Sweden is by referring to Sweden’s labor shortage list, which is published twice a year. The list predicts Sweden’s future labor needs in relation to expected graduates and retirements. If your profession is on this list, it will increase your chances significantly. It also means that you are free to apply for a work and residence permit from within Sweden.

Taxation in Sweden

Income taxes are automatically deducted from your salary and every person, including your spouse, is taxed individually. You may already know that Swedish taxes are relatively high. However, they eventually pay off. Sweden uses tax money to finance the healthcare and education systems as well as public transportation. This allows residents access to free public day schools, free or at least rather affordable healthcare and other amenities. The Swedish Tax Agency is also very well trusted by Swedes and is accessible and customer friendly. Many things can be done electronically, even by app. When you start working in Sweden you will notice that Swedes have a positive attitude towards taxation. Skatt, the Swedish word for tax, also translates to treasure, representing the relatively unusual regard the Swedes hold towards taxation.

Key foreign personnel have the opportunity to opt for a 25% tax break. 75% of your salary will then be taxed according to Swedish law while the remaining 25% is tax-free for the first three years. You are recognized as a key foreign employee if you hold a vital position within your company, if you are an expert, engineer or scientist or are able to offer unique expertise in your field.

A Laidback Approach: Business Culture in Sweden

Sweden’s business environment is rather informal and casual. Those of you who prefer to wear jeans to work instead of fancy suits will feel right at home; it is even commonplace to wear sandals around the office. Flexible work hours and open, lively discussions during business meetings are common as well. However it is important to remember that Swedes try to avoid conflict and do not approve of too much emotion in business meetings. Although Sweden’s business culture seems quite relaxed, its labor force is one of the most productive in the world.

In Sweden, it is considered important to have a healthy balance between your work and your private life. Flexitime and work from home is rather common in Sweden, as are “Fika” breaks (breaks from work for coffee) which occur two or three times per day. However, you should still try to remain punctual, have respect for your co-workers and be humble. Team work and individual responsibility are extremely important.



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