Sweden has fourth happiest workers in the world: report

Sweden is home to the fourth happiest workers in the world, an international survey from the branding research firm Universum has claimed.

Sweden has fourth happiest workers in the world: report
Is Swedish fika the secret? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The firm’s ‘Global Workforce Happiness Index’ concluded that Sweden has the world’s fourth most satisfied employees, behind Nordic neighbours Denmark and Norway, and Costa Rica.

“Generally we see that Swedish companies are good at meeting the needs of today's talents,” Petter Granqvist, marketing manager for Universum in Sweden, explained to The Local. 

“They are good at taking care of their employees, but also at looking at each employee's personal needs. We have a tradition of including several in the decision-making and usually not too strong hierarchies.” 

Sweden is famous for its work-life balance, including five weeks' holidays, generous parental leave, paid sick leave – including for parents staying at home to look after sick children – and so on. 

However, there has also been increased debate in the past year about the situation for foreign workers, who often struggle to find work and when they do, face a long wait to get or extend their work permits.

READ ALSO: Danish workers happiest in the world

The survey asked more than 200,000 young professionals in 57 markets to rank their satisfaction, their willingness to recommend their current employer to others and their likelihood to switch jobs in the near future. The latter was an area where Sweden scored low, compared to the other criteria.

“We see in the survey that Swedes are not very loyal to their employers, and that could be seen as something many companies need to take seriously,” said Granqvist.

“If you don't take it seriously, there's a great risk you will lose your best talents and the company's perhaps most important capital: the human capital.”

Universum's survey comes a week after another report showed that Swedes are the citizens in Europe expected to work the largest number of years during their lives, with the predicted 41.2 working years the longest in the European Union. So it is probably a good thing they are happy workers.

Photo: Universum

For members


Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”