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Ten jobs for internationals in Sweden you may not have thought of

Joel Forslin
Joel Forslin - [email protected]
Ten jobs for internationals in Sweden you may not have thought of
Stockholm's Sthlm Tech Fest. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Finding work in Sweden can be tough if you don't know where to look. But even if you don't speak a word of Swedish or are having a hard time learning, there is still hope...


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There are some basic things worth knowing about working life in Sweden. First are two golden words you may have heard if you've ever spoken to anyone who works here: "fast anställd" or full-time employee.

In Sweden that means you'll get a minimum of five weeks paid vacation and paid parental leave, among other things. But even if you're not a full-time employee, workers have very strong rights compared to many other countries.

When it comes to moving here for work, coming from an EU or EEA country is a major advantage. Speaking the language definitely is too, but it's not impossible to find work where the native tongue may not be required. Here are some examples to get you started.

The tech industry

According to a recent study high demand has created a shortage of programmers in Sweden. By 2022 the estimated amount of programmers needed will be around 70,000.

Sweden has a reputation for being a front runner when it comes to tech companies. If you have experience or qualification in programming, computer science or any other skill used within the tech industry then it could be an option for you. Many of the companies use English as their main office language, and workplaces often consist of a mixture of internationals and Swedish natives. Music streaming giant Spotify, payment services provider Klarna and podcast provider Acast are some of the big tech names started and based in Sweden.

FOR MEMBERS: How you can turn your startup into the next Spotify

Photo: Richard Drew/AP

Fashion and design

Swedish fashion and design are internationally renowned. Like tech companies, big brands use English to some extent. From developing new furniture models to working with the import of textiles for the next season's trendiest trousers, there are many different jobs in these industries. Designing, importing and sales are a few.

Though most of the big Swedish fashion brands like H&M and Acne are based in Stockholm, furniture giant IKEA has its headquarters in the small southern town Älmhult. So if the combination of calm rural Sweden and designing tricky-to-assemble wardrobes is your dream, they're likely for you.

READ ALSO: Why talking wardrobes could help save the planet

Photo: Tomas Onebrog/SvD/TT

Freelance writing and proofreading

When it comes to full-time English journalism in Sweden, you're looking at it. So the prospect of permanent work in that field is difficult (though The Local does hire from time to time and it's worth keeping an eye open).

The good thing with being a writer however is that you don't necessarily have to work on location, be employed by a Swedish company or be employed at all. Registering as a freelancer in Sweden is relatively simple, and if you're struggling, we went to great lengths to detail the process.

FOR MEMBERS: How to register as a freelancer in Sweden

Proofreading could also be an option.  Even if Swedes in general have good English skills, you're a native speaker and they're not, so spelling and grammar errors do occur. While full-time jobs doing proofreading are rare, it can be a good and relatively easy way to earn some extra money, or a stepping stone to other jobs. One way to get this kind of work is to put an advert for yourself on freelancing or classified sites.

Photo: Caleb Jones/AP


A potential place to work that may slip your mind is at embassies. Most English-speaking nations have an embassy in Stockholm, and jobs can vary from working as a clerk at the visa desk to accounting. Some of the jobs might require you to know some Swedish but that will be specified in the ads.

Ads are posted on the individual websites of embassies, and will state the rules and regulations followed. Swedish regulations may still apply, so paid parental leave and other benefits could be on offer.  Some of the bigger English-speaking embassies include the USACanadaAustralia and the UK.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT


If you want to work as a teacher in Sweden's public school system you need a bachelor's degree in education and a certificate from the National Agency for Education (Skolverket). As a foreigner you can apply for one if you have the right degree but you have to be able to speak and understand Swedish.

FOR MEMBERS: How to work as a teacher in Sweden

Non state schools work differently. The likes of Internationella Engelska Skolan and IB do most of their teaching in English. For positions there you will likely also need a bachelor's degree, experience in teaching and most likely, to be certified to teach in your native country.

Due to a shortage in the profession getting temp (vikarie) work teaching in Sweden is fairly straightforward. You don't need any qualifications to work as a temp, but you won't get a long term contract and hours may vary from month to month. To find temp jobs as a teacher check Vikariepoolen, Pedagogpoolen and Skoljobb where ads are posted regularly.

If you are certified to teach English as a second language you can take a look at British Institute and Folkuniversitet . Both teach courses in English as a second language which don't require a formal education.

Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

The service industry

Most basic restaurants or pubs will not require you to speak Swedish fluently, and the little you may need for pouring a pint can probably be picked up in a matter of weeks. Swedes generally don't go knocking on doors to apply for work but this is an exception. Just ask at a pub or restaurant if they need any staff. In summer when the tourists pour in it will likely be easier to find jobs in this field.

Restaurants put up ads when they want staff, and if you have experience as a chef or a waiter it can be a huge advantage. A further alternative is food deliveries. If you're willing to bike around and deliver food you can apply at various services like Foodora. It's hard work and pay is generally not great, but at least you get a good workout.

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Guided tours

This is one way to make that Scandinavian history class you took at university (or any history knowledge at all) pay off.

To be an authorized guide in Sweden you need to complete a minimum of 200 hours of training with an instructor and then take an exam. You can however work as a guide without the qualification. Guide work isn't a well paid job and in some cases only based on tips from the people you take on the tour. Passion will help.

Special interest tours are also very popular, so if you have a deep interest in the Millennium trilogy or knowledge of the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme you could be in luck. Check sites like Like a local if you want to do a tour of your own.

READ ALSO: How this international became an expert guide in Sweden

Photo: Niklas Larsson/TT

Game development

In the gaming and games development world Sweden is a big deal, going back to the 1990s but exploding to prominence above all in the last decade. Major titles like Minecraft were developed by Mojang, and Battlefield developed by EA DICE, with both having their head offices here. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

New studios are popping up everywhere and you can find anything from award winning indie developers to top level titles being produced. Ads for work in gaming are usually posted on the developer's site.


A Way Out, byt Josef Fares' Hazelight studio. Photo: Hazelight

Jobs can include anything from marketing to visual effects. As with fashion and tech, English is often the office language of choice, and the bigger the company the more likely you are to not need any Swedish at all. Many studios are based in Stockholm but some, like the indie-horror studio Frictional Games, is based in the southern town of Helsingborg.

Adventure tourism

Are mountain trekking, off-piste skiing or paragliding your passion? Sweden definitely has the natural environment for it, and working in those fields can be a good way to combine your hobby and time in the wilderness with earning money in your native language.

Particularly in the north of Sweden there are a lot of national parks, ski slopes and mountains. Some like Sarek are cut off from the rest of the country and are considered true wilderness. A guide is required to get around these places, so if you have experience and training there could be work to do.

Skiing in particular is very popular and if you have experience in the more extreme, off the beaten path kind that could be a good niche for English speaking crowds. The large ski resorts employ a lot of instructors and other staff, (Skistar is one of the biggest firms and posts ads here), so why not try contacting them?

A different approach is to set up a company of your own and offer private tours as a freelancer.

Photo: Henrik Holmberg/TT


Working at NGOs often require Swedish but occasionally positions for non Swedish speakers are available. In general the organizations look for people interested in human rights with degrees within fields like political science and law.

Civil Right defenders is one NGO based and founded in Stockholm. Its main focus is monitoring governments that commit crimes against humanity and seeking justice for those affected. They also train and support people who fight to defend human rights around the world. Not all positions require you to speak swedish, and they regularly post ads on their site. Other NGOs worth looking into are AmnestySwedish Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Other useful places to look:

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) has virtually all the information you will need regarding working in Sweden, including on tax and permits. The official Sweden site also has good information for internationals.

Unions are important players in Sweden, the biggest of which include The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO)The Swedish Confederation of Employees /TCO), and The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (SACO).

They can help with matters like negotiating a salary, settling conflicts with your employer and more. A complete list of unions be found in Swedish here.

Each union also has an unemployment fund that you can join. If you find yourself unemployed and have been a member for the stipulated period you can receive unemployment benefits from them, more information about which can be found here.

Browse thousands of English-language jobs in Sweden


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