Can You Get a Job in Sweden Without Speaking Swedish?

a colorful view of establishment, yachts and bay area.

Sweden has one of the most vibrant economies in Europe and a thriving job market. As such, getting a job here can mean great opportunities for those looking to work in a dynamic and modern society. The average salary in Sweden is $3,660 monthly, which is above what most European countries offer.

However, speaking Swedish can be a major barrier to applying for jobs in Sweden as many employers require fluency in the local language. Yet, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get a job in Sweden without speaking Swedish.

While language proficiency is usually required, many employers in Sweden are open to hiring international professionals with a good English language command. However, there are many non-language based jobs in Sweden like IT and engineering that don’t require fluency in Swedish.

Since Sweden offers good perks for those good at their craft, growing your skills and learning the language before moving to the country is a good approach. This article explores how a foreigner can get a job without speaking Swedish.

Getting a job in Sweden without speaking Swedish: Guide

A Swedish flag waving through a bright morning.

The working environment in Sweden is collaborative and manageable for foreigners. You must be highly qualified to get a job in the country without speaking Swedish. Your potential employer has to justify why they need to hire a foreigner instead of a Swede.

Sweden has a communal approach even in the working environment. This is why employers will favor candidates who can easily interact with their workmates. 

Although the environment is competitive and biased toward those willing to learn the language, you still have a chance at getting a job in Sweden even without speaking Swedish.

There are also multinationals in the country whose corporate language is English, and you could get a chance as you grow in your career.

Also read our guide on salaries in Sweden.

How to get a job in Sweden without speaking Swedish

There are different approaches you can use to land a job in the country:

1. Study in Sweden

Taking your studies in the country allows you to not only learn the culture and the language but also stand a chance at getting a job in the country. 

Once you take up a course in an institution in the country, you can work as you study, and you don’t need a work permit as a student. 

If you intend to work in the country after you’re done with your studies, it becomes easy to transition and get a work permit.

As a student who has completed a minimum of 30 credits in a Swedish institution and still has your study permit for six months, you’re eligible to live and work in the country as your work permit is being processed.

2. Working Holiday Visa

If you’re among the few that qualify to travel to Sweden on a working holiday Visa, you can utilize the chance to acquaint yourself with the working environment in the country as a non-Swedish speaker.

To qualify for this visa, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be an adult aged between 18 and 30 years
  • Your passport must be valid
  • You should have a return ticket or prove that you have money to afford one.
  • You need to have a minimum of 15,000 SEK to cater to your needs as you settle down
  • You must be from any of these countries; Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, Chile, South Korea, or Uruguay
  • If you’re not from Australia, you’re expected to have a comprehensive medical insurance policy that covers Sweden
  • You’re not allowed to bring along children under this visa

With this visa, you can freely look for jobs in the country and live in the country until it expires. You need to take note; however, once the period expires and you intend to continue working and living in the country, you’ll have to go back before switching to a work visa.

Using the work holiday visa will help you land jobs that don’t necessarily require you to be a Swedish speaker. You can also learn the language before the visa expires so that by the time you switch to a working visa, you have the upper hand.

3. International companies

If you work in a multinational with operations in Sweden, you could request a transfer to Sweden. Once in the country, familiarize yourself with the working culture, and once your contract is done, you can shift to a different employer in the country.

Alternatively, if you’re highly qualified in your craft, especially in the tech industry, you can have a local company hire you and sponsor your work permit.

4. Search online

Several major online sites match employers with employees in and out of the country. Search through these sites for openings that don’t have the Swedish language as a requirement.

For you to have higher chances of being hired, even as a non-native, you need to be highly qualified and show interest in willingness to learn the language.

Every once in a while, the Sweden Employment Agency and Swedish Migration Agency produce a list of skills in a shortage within the country and in high demand. It’s imperative to check out the latest publications as this will help you position if your talent is in shortage in the country.

Can you move to Sweden without a job? Learn in this article.

Best jobs in Sweden for foreigners

The best jobs in Sweden for Foreigners are those in high demand and do not require fluency in the Swedish language.

Some of the jobs available for foreigners in Sweden include:

1. Healthcare workers

The healthcare sector is vast, and health services are in high demand in the country as the population grows. Some of the professions in high demand in the industry include:

  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Orthodontists
  • Surgeons
  • Specialized doctors

Sweden as a country is keen on the health and well-being of its citizens; as such, the country has a functional healthcare system that is currently understaffed. As a foreigner qualified and working in the healthcare sector, you stand a high chance of landing a job in the country.

2. IT Executives

Globally, technology is taking over, and some of the big brands in the industry have branches in Sweden. 

If you’re highly talented in the tech industry, landing a job in Sweden is not complex as the sector is on a trajectory trend.

The tech industry attracts high perks, and once you prove your worth, it becomes easy to progress through the job ranks.

3. Engineers

A highly qualified engineer can easily land a job in Sweden once you prove you’re skilled enough.

Automation and civil engineering are among the highly demanded skills in the engineering sector. Sweden is a key player in the automotive industry, being home to some global players such as Scania and Volvo.

The country is on track to pursue eco-friendly vehicles whose emissions don’t hurt the environment. For this reason, automation engineers are in high demand to assist in analysis, design, and research. 

As a foreigner, you have a high chance of landing a job as an engineer if you’re qualified. The sector remunerates based on qualifications and experience in the industry. Generally, most specialists in engineering are well-paid in Sweden.

For example, engineers with Bachelor degree earn an average salary of 55,000 SEK per month or $5,300. Below are the average salaries paid per their years of experience:

Years of experienceApproximate salaries ($)
Above 15$6,000

4. Financial consultants

Sweden has a vibrant banking and finance sector because Stockholm is home to major international banks and stock exchanges in the Scandinavian region. It is one of the better cities to live in Sweden and there are many nice places in which you can stay in Stockholm.

As an expert in finance, you’ll attract high pay, and career progression is easy if you’re excellent at your craft. Your experience in the industry will determine how much you’re paid.

Below is what to expect approximately based on your years of experience:

Number of yearsExpected salary
Entry level$2,000
Above 15$6,000

Can you live in Sweden without speaking Swedish?

Over 80% of Swedes can speak English, making it possible for people to live here without speaking Swedish. Moreover, Sweden was ranked as having the best non-native English speakers in the world in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018.

The Swedes are polite and accommodating, and once they discover you don’t speak Swedish, they will shift to English. You, however, need to learn a few words of the language to help you navigate around the country smoothly.

You’ll need to know the language to be fully integrated into Sweden. The Swedes are committed to assisting immigrants to learn their language, and many institutions are dedicated to teaching it.

The elderly in the country may not be very fluent in English, so to avoid problems when interacting with them, it’s essential to learn the language. 

In most establishments in Sweden, the common language is Swedish and English. This helps ex-pats and immigrants easily shop and transport across the country.

Most TV channels and entertainment spots are in English, so you can live in the country without speaking their language.

Additionally, most businesses ensure that there’s someone fluent in English to help clients who haven’t learned the Swedish language. 

While looking to learn the language, you can earn as you learn the ropes and progress through the career ladder. You can work in any of these fields that are readily available for foreigners, and you don’t have to be a Swedish speaker:

  • Delivery job
  • Driver
  • Housekeeping
  • Local tour guide
  • Freelancing
  • Cleaning
  • Handyman
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