Average Salaries in Sweden by Occupation

Swedish salaries on the whole, are lower than other countries. In Sweden, salaries are more evenly spread between professions compared to the other countries, especially the US & UK, when there is a wide range in earnings between blue-collar to CEO/doctor levels.

Here’s a quick look at monthly salaries for most major professions. In Sweden, employees sign up for a monthly salary rather than yearly salary.  These are based upon several years experience.  Discount heavily if you are a new graduate in the field.

Occupation          Monthly Salary in SEK (2010)
Veterinarian                               50,600
Dentists                                       50,600
Doctors                                        50,600
Pilot                                             48,200
Lawyer                                        40,700
Civil economist                          38,600
Computer Programmer           38,400
Master                                         38,000
Researcher                                 35,600
Brokers                                         34,700
Journalist                                    32,100
Author                                          32,100
IT professionals                         30,400
Psychologist                                28,000
Nurse                                             27,800
Secondary school teachers      27,300
Opticians                                     26,200
Primary school teachers          25,700
HVAC technician                      24,700
Painter                                          23,600
Tailors                                          21,600
Stockman                                    20,200

You can see that doctors and lawyers are not that much better off than an experienced programmer or pilot. There are no $200,000 incomes for doctors or lawyers in Sweden so if you expect that kind of money, don’t move here.

Despite average wages, cost of living is relatively high, especially in Stockholm. You can still achieve a high rate of savings by avoiding car ownership and living with a partner.

In addition, high unemployment amongst the youth population is persistent despite lower restrictions on hiring and terminations. Youth are those between 18-25 years of age. If you are college educated or have previous work experience, your chance of finding a job is far easier.

LO, Landsorganisationen i Sverige, the Swedish trade union confederation, ran a study regarding expectations of salaries and reality. The findings were markedly Swedish in that, respondents expected evenly distributed salaries amongst occupations.
Occupation              Expected Monthly Income           Real Monthly Income
Cashier                      22,800                                                20,400
Assistant                   25,200                                                21,600
Industry worker      25,700                                                24,100
Electrician               26,800                                                26,600
Teacher                     27,700                                                26,000
Nurse                         29,000                                               25,600
Engineer                   32,600                                               39,100
Sales Boss                35,700                                               54,600
Doctor                      39,000                                                52,800
Director of a large company 97,000                             969,800
Numbers are in 2010 SEK (kronor) via DN and LO.

Of course, not everything is equal in Sweden, especially when you reach the director/executive level positions. There, you can expect American salaries and perks with your position.

The resources below should help you if you are negotiating salaries. Be aware of salary differences between cities, gender, and experience.
SCB – http://www.scb.se/Pages/ProductTables____7538.aspx
LO – http://www.lo.se/home/lo/home.nsf/unidView/98550AB94B710AD4C12574E80042F3F0
Lönestatistik – based on user submission; hit or miss for many occupations – http://www.lonestatistik.se/loner.asp

38 thoughts on “Average Salaries in Sweden by Occupation”

  1. Holy crap. How can anyone live on such small salaries in Stockholm? Thank god my salary is in the top 4 range, and I have fellow colleagues and friends who I know clear the top values on the chart.

  2. Okay so I guess with all the American med school loan debts I will accrue by the end my studies, I may not want to move to Sweden after all…wouldn’t be able to afford paying those back!

  3. @Andrew! Stop eating caviar everyday and vaska’ing champagne. :-P

    @lh – You better stay in America if you have med school loans! I think the medical field has the largest discrepancy in salary between the countries.

  4. @ Sapphire, PS. if/when you come to San Francisco let me know! I’ve been reading your blog so much I feel like we are friends already!
    PSS. I am now obsessed with SatW comics– amazingnessss right there! haha


  5. @lh – I should be visiting later in the year, so let’s meet up! SATW comic is the BEST. The girl, Humon, is a genius!

  6. @Andrew: I think the main difference is that there is no health insurance, little home insurance and so on. I (single person in an owned apartment) pay about $300/year in insurance and that includes pretty much everything (apartment, health (including dental), travel and so on). If you have a car – add $300-$800.

  7. @Rajas – The salary are before taxes. Everyone has a different tax pressure; it wouldn’t make sense to do post-tax salaries.

  8. If these are lower than other countries, then how can we afford living within ours?! I am a telecom engineer and was paid 1500EGP basic salary and around 200EGP monthly bonus at 2009 in Egypt! Enjoy the conversion :) I will be appreciated if you please can advise me how to travel to Sweden.

  9. I just came back from an awesome vacation in northern Sweden. From what I could see, people in Sweden may not have as much “stuff” as north americans – but they certainly have a better quality of life. The narrow income spread seems like a very good idea.

    Question: Having participated in a fair number of “fika’s” I was wondering about the coffee. What do Swedes do to make their strong-brew coffee so tasty? If I were to brew some local (american) coffee to that strength, it would be undrinkable.

  10. Having lived in Sweden for a year I have to mention the problems with this. IF you want to live in Stockholm or any other big city in the world of course the COL will be high. Thus there are suburbs where the costs are a whole lot cheaper. Going even further up here in Norsbotten it’s even cheaper! For a years worth of rent in Stockholm you can buy a nice house with lots of land in the country close enough to a city to go to work.

    Also consider this with the Doctors. There is no student debt payback and no insurance payments for liability and the work hours are a whole lot better. Still lower then America but getting closer. Private practice is also allowed here and I believe they get paid a lot more since it is a premium service where you get seen when you want to instead of waiting for a long time.

    My sister in law did say she and her husband would move to Norway after she graduates as the psychologist are paid more there.

    All in all yes it’s not as well paying here on high end jobs as in america but the low end jobs pay well and as someone mentioned the living conditions here are great. Also we don’t have as many temptations for useless things (lack of variety) so we do save a bit.

  11. You mentioned Humon in one of the comments. I’m a HUGE fan of the SATW comics and I don’t think there is a comic about the salaries in Scandinavia (She’s Danish isn’t she…)
    But i’m starting to go through all your posts and I must say, i’m really impressed. You’re beginning to take on a Humon-esque stature to me right now… :D

  12. @SATW is one of my favorite comics. I read somewhere where she is from but don’t remember now.

    I’m glad you enjoy the blog. There are lots of updates to come, so stay tuned.

  13. Hi everyone! I´ve just apply to an internship in Lund. The salary is 15,500, is it OK to live ?. Is it possible to save something ?. Let me know what can you do with that salary.

    Thank you very much and best regards.

  14. hi everyone, i have to make survey about some eccupation salary can anyone help in that ?
    also i need to now some other things like how can i rejest new company, Taxes, fuel rate, car hiring per month,flat rent preice / year
    apprciate anyone help.

  15. Hi,

    I work in the Construction Industry as a Quantity Surveyor in the UK and have been trying to find the average salary for a Swedish equivalent but have so far been unable to do so. I believe the role of the Quantity Surveyor in Sweden in less technical as many of the functions of a QS are carried out by other professions. Any help you could give me on average salaries or where to look for roles would be greatly appreciated.


  16. whats the average tax %ge and cost of living in euro in sweden–I mean for a decent upper-mid-class living statndard

  17. @kalsoani:

    Normal income tax (roughly speaking) is between 28-33%. It depends on which municipality you are living in. If you make more then 401 100 SEK/year (about 46000 Euros) you also pay state income tax, much like US federal tax.
    About the cost of living….. Taking Gothenburg area as an example. 2 room apartment is about 500 euros, food 230-300 euros, appliance + electricity 30-40 euros, internet+mobilephone 60-70 euros, monthly fee for commuting is about 80-100 euros. So all in all 920-100 euros. If you live in smaller cities or suburbs the rent might be alot cheaper.

    2,500 to 3,000 euros depending on education and number of active years.

  18. Heya, so ive been trying to find salary averages for skilled chefs in stockholm but as of yet i havnt had any luck.. Does anyone here have an idea?

  19. Hi everone. I’m a qualified fitness trainer. Does anyone know the average wage for a fitness trainer anywhere in Sweden?

  20. I am graduating rom medical school soon from russia could you please tell me if ifs easy to get an internship in Sweden

  21. @Kenneth – I really have no idea about med school internships. You should contact Karolinska and see what options exist.

  22. @Zapece – Depends on the years and type of experience you have. Plus it matters where you work in Sweden. Stockholm has higher salaries on average than the other cities.

  23. I was wondering how much the pay for a recent MBA graduate in Healthcare Administration would be in Stockholm.

    Graduated out of NYU – Stern if that helps.

  24. Can anyone tell me the average salary for an electrician in Sweden? (after the taxes are cut off)
    Thanks everyone!

  25. I am about to start a medical course in Scotland and was considering moving to Scania because of the pace of life and overall standard of living after i qualify and was wondering what sort of monthly salary i would get post tax as doctor before specialisation? And also whether private doctors can work similarly to how they work in the Uk being able to do both NHS and private work?

  26. Hello there,

    I was wondering what would be the average salary in Stockholm for a programmer with 3 years experience in C/C++? I’m about to get an offer from Microsoft, and I was wondering what I should expect.


  27. Hi, My husband will move to Stockholm from India through his work by next month. I will also move with him and need to know the process if I want to work there too and what is the job requirment and average salary for IT SAP FICO proffessionals in Sweden. I have 6 years of Work Experience in IT Industry including Experience in US and India.

  28. Hi,

    we are thinking about re-locating to Sweden next year…but what I don´t get is…why can people afford houses and stuff if the taxes are that high and the salaries are (more or less) equal? How they do that?
    I am Dutch and my wife is South-American. I am an skilled industry worker and she is a registrated Nurse. Right now she is learning English. I started with „Rivstart“ to learn Swedish:-) What should be the level of Swedish for a nurse…is a B2 sufficient?
    We were thinking on moving in the Malmo/Lund area…is that also so expensive as Stockholm? We have a child of nearly 3 years old.



  29. Hi,i have a qualification of profficiency in Web-Design & Am presently doing Application Development in South Africa.
    Kindly advice me,do you think it will be better for my career in sweden than in canada? in terms of salery?

  30. Johan,

    The answer to your question is essentially “Loan & Spend” – right now borrowing money in Sweden is dirt cheap and it’s staggering to witness who is eligible – pretty much anyone.

    If you have a reasonable income and a projected apartment rent/fee after purchasing (let’s say 50-60% of your income after tax or so) then the banks don’t hesitate. The government made some weak attempts at encouraging fiscal responsibility a while back by forcing banks to raise deposits on property purchases to 15% from 10% – but the extra 5% can be loaned from the bank (or relatives). In fact, many seemingly well-off Swedes sporting apartments in the center of Stockholm got there not only of their own accord by grinding and saving up, but by having family pool the resources necessary for the initial down payment – the rest is the mortgage.

    Also, like others have suggested – splitting the costs with a partner and avoiding car ownership do help but aren’t necessary.

    Pros and cons, as always…

  31. Hi,

    There are a few things that do work in Sweden’s favour:

    1. Tax Refund – If you purchase property, 30% of your interest can be used to offset against your salary. This offset can either be paid on a monthly basis or on a yearly basis in your tax return. The hardest thing is saving up a deposit to be able to buy a place (I believe it’s now 15%).

    2. Healthcare – You pay ~200SEK per doctor’s visit. After the 10th visit, in a 12 month period, the doctor’s fee is waived.

    3. Schooling – As I understand it – it’s free

    4. Interest – Most of the things you can buy on “interest free” loans. I believe you can pay something off within 2 years and only pay a handling fee of 30SEK per month

    To be honest, I’m one of the biggest fans of amazon and now with free shipping to Sweden, it’s perfect! In addition, I fly to London quite often to buy things as the cost of certain branded items far exceeds the cost of flying/staying in London.

    When I first moved to Sweden, I really struggled with adjusting to the environment. I felt everything was far too expensive, especially for the salary. Now that I do a lot of online shopping, know where the ‘bargain’ shops are – im actually quite comfortable. I support my family and live a great life on ~60K SEK (after tax) a month.


  32. Some one could indicate a web page explaining the tax structure in Sweden?
    I’m quite confused what could be the annual income and after tax salaries.


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