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As one of the wealthiest countries in Europe and with a highly developed economy, business infrastructure, and legal system, the Scandinavian nation of Sweden is an attractive place to invest and expand any business.
Sweden is consistently rated as one of the easiest countries in the world to do business, and while the language barrier may be seen as a deterrent to some, English is widely spoken. The country also has one of the best education systems in the world, which has created a highly capable talent pool for businesses to hire from.
Our guide to hiring in Sweden provides an overview of all key information you need to start planning your Sweden expansion.
|Population 10.35M (labor force 5.5M)||Capital City Stockholm||Languages Spoken Swedish (14th in Europe)|
|Currency Swedish Krona (kr)||GDP per capita $60,029||Ease of Doing Business 10th in the world|
|Minimum Wage None||Average Wage 40,100 SEK/month||Paid Leave 25 days|
Following the trends of the wider global marketplace, Sweden’s economy fell in 2020 during the pandemic, but the economy recovered well in 2021. Modest growth is forecast for 2022 and 2023. Sweden’s extensive social protections, high savings rates, and strong economic base mean it is expected to rebound well and the medium-to-long-term outlook is good.
In line with its Scandinavian and Northern European neighbors, Sweden has some of the strongest laws governing employment and social welfare in the world. The main regulations surround parental leave, annual leave, pensions, sick pay, terminations and severance, and so on.
The relatively complex regulatory environment means that compliance can be challenging if you’re new to the country; however, Horizons specializes in supporting businesses looking to expand abroad, and there is nothing to worry about if you’re working with a tested in-country partner. Our Sweden experts will guide you through the country’s regulations, helping you remain compliant with the relevant laws and simplifying your expansion.
Sweden has a fairly reserved business culture when it comes to personal interactions. People are generally polite, avoid conflict wherever possible, and keep conversation topics light. This can be noticeably different to some other countries, such as the US, where confrontation and speaking one’s mind are more commonly accepted. However, interactions are not overly formal. Most people use first names and make friendly conversation with others in a business context. Casual dress is alsostandard in the workplace.
Managers in Sweden are respectful, and consultation with the wider team is commonplace when making decisions.
In Sweden, modern recruiting revolves around the internet, with most people using search engines, online job boards, and social media to find jobs. As an employer, it’s a good idea to post your openings on sites like LinkedIn.
Competition for the country’s top talent can be strong, so it can pay to cast a wide net and try multiple avenues when recruiting. Job fairs and networking events can be useful, as can using dedicated recruitment services.
There is a high rate of trade union membership in Sweden, so collective bargaining agreements are a regular feature of employment negotiations and an important consideration for all organizations establishing themselves in the country.
Sweden is a modern parliamentary democracy with open internet. As such, most job postings can be found online at the following sites:
One-on-one, in-person interviews are the accepted norm in Sweden, but panel interviews are also common. Since 2020, online interviews have increased in popularity. Candidates will generally expect interviews to be relatively informal, with friendly conversation and getting to know each other seen as equally important as learning about competency and skills.
Swedish business culture is focused on collaboration, so it’s good practice to highlight these things and try to incorporate the idea of teamwork into interviews.
Yes, employers in Sweden may ask a candidate’s previous salary; however, the candidate is not obliged to provide the figure.
In most cases, it is better to include the salary range on the job posting if you are hiring in Sweden.
When changing jobs in Sweden, employees typically target an increase of 10%-20%.
There is no fixed template to follow when onboarding new employees in Sweden, but it’s good to follow a few important procedures. For example, always take the time to go over company culture, and expectations for the role, and answer any questions your new employee may have about the role. Also set aside adequate time for training, orientation, and introductions.
With Sweden having open internet, the most common remote working tools are the same as those found in other developed western economies: Slack or Microsoft Teams for chatting; Trello, Jira, Clickup, or Monday for project management; and Confluence or Loom for documentation.
Whatever remote working tools you are using in the head office should be suitable for your employees in Sweden.
|1 Jan Sunday||New Year’s Day|
|6 Jan Friday||Epiphany|
|7 Apr Friday||Good Friday|
|8 Apr Saturday||Holy Saturday|
|9 Apr Sunday||Easter Sunday|
|10 Apr Monday||Easter Monday|
|1 May Monday||May 1st|
|18 May Thursday||Ascension Day|
|27 May Saturday||Whit Saturday|
|28 May Sunday||Whit Sunday|
|6 Jun Tuesday||National day|
|23 Jun Friday||Midsummer Eve|
|24 Jun Saturday||Midsummer Day|
|4 Nov Saturday||All Saints’ Day|
|24 Dec Sunday||Christmas Eve|
|25 Dec Monday||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec Tuesday||Boxing Day|
|31 Dec Sunday||New Year’s Eve|
Salaries in Sweden increased by an average of 3.22% per year from 1992 to 2022; however, especially in recent years, employees are asking for more to offset growing global inflation. Oftentimes, employees do not receive the raises they request (even when asking for the average, 3%). The attitude in Sweden is- the best way to get a raise is to change jobs. This might be to the advantage of new employers entering the Swedish market looking to acquire and retain top talent.
Whether to hire freelancers or employees in Sweden depends on your specific business situation and risk tolerance.
If you are looking for a short-term project-baed employee, it might be better to engage a freelancer. The freelancer broker market is mature, and it would be relatively easy to find the talent you arelooking for. However, you might run the risk of employee misclassification if the freelancer is engaged in activity related to the core business or if the freelancer is determined by the authorities at some point to be an employee.
Hiring an employee will mitigate the risks of employee misclassification. While it comes with a higher employer burden in the form of social security payments, you will avoid massive fines and other penalities by remaining compliant. You can hire employees through Horizons; contact us today for a free consultation.
Yes, it is possible to hire foreigners in Sweden. Foreign nationals from the EU/EEA, Nordic countries, or EU Blue Card Holders are permitted to work in Sweden without a working visa. All other nationalities (including Swiss) would require a work permit to begin working in Sweden.
Businesses who wish to operate in Sweden can open a subsidiary or a branch, or they may engage an international employer of record (EOR) like Horizons.
Step 1: Produce the following documents, translated to Swedish and notarized.
Step 2: Registration with the national tax board for corporate tax and VAT
Step 3: Submit VAT reports quarterly and tax returns annually
When opening a subsidiary in Sweden, there may be inquiries from relevant offices and more steps are often added to the process.
Step 1: Register with the Swedish Companies Registration Office
Step 2: Get a Corporate Registration Number
Step 3: Continuous reporting to the Swedish Companies Registrations Office (in Swedish language)
Step 4: Continuous payment of income tax
3. Hire using an employer of record (EOR)
Step 1: Conduct a candidate search
Step 2: Choose your EOR vendor
Step 3: Hire your employee through the EOR, and get to work
To hire employees in Sweden, you have two main options:
1. Open a subsidiary or branch office.
The processes for opening a subsidiary or branch office are outlined in the answer above. The process is laborious, time consuming, and prone to missteps if you aren’t working with an expert in Sweden.
2. Engage a global Employer of Record (EOR) like Horizons.
By engaging an EOR, you outsource the expertise required for handling local labor law in Sweden or anywhere else in the world you would like to hire. Contact us for a free consultation on your hiring project in Sweden.
Your business can easily hire employees in Sweden without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.