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These Swedish occupations have the highest share of foreign-born workers

If you order a pizza in Sweden, the overwhelming odds are that your pie will be made by someone born outside of the country.

Newly-released 2017 workforce statistics from the Swedish Occupational Register showed that 79 percent of all pizza makers and fast food preparers in the country are not originally from Sweden, making it the occupation with the highest percentage of foreign-born workers in the nation. The pizza business also has the highest concentration of foreign-born males at 88 percent. 
 
According to the figures, foreign-born workers account for only 17 percent of the overall Swedish workforce but are over-represented in a number of professions. Over two-thirds of all maids, nannies and related workers are foreign-born, while 59 percent of all translators, interpreters and other linguists were born outside of Sweden. 
 
Foreigners also account for 57 percent of the nation’s cleaning staff and 51 percent of all PhD students. 
 
Screenshot from Statistics Sweden
 
In addition to revealing the overrepresentation of foreigners in some professions, the statistics also showed some stark gender differences. The most common occupation in the country as a whole in 2017 was the category of ‘assistant nurses, personal care, home care and elderly care’, in which women accounted for 92 percent of all jobs. The most common male occupation was commercial sales representative, with men accounting for 73 percent of the total. 
 
There was better gender balance to be found in managerial positions. In this category, which excluded senior officials, CEOs and politicians, 60 percent were men and 40 percent were women. But even within the managerial sphere, there were significant gender differences. For instance, 93 percent of pre-school managers are female, while 91 percent of construction and mining production managers are male. 
 
Chart from Statistics Sweden
 
“Taking account of the underlying gender balance among employees in each industry when looking at gender balance among managers shows an uneven gender balance in all except three industries,” Statistics Sweden wrote, pointing to the categories of restaurant managers, finance managers, and information, communication and PR managers. 

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READER QUESTIONS

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.”

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