Minimum Wage in Sweden: A Guide for Foreigners (2024)


Tobias Sjöström

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One of the most common questions we get asked is about the minimum wage in Sweden. It’s a crucial piece of information, especially if you’re planning to work here. So, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you understand what to expect when it comes to minimum wage in Sweden. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Minimum Wage in Sweden

First things first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the minimum wage. You might be surprised to learn that Sweden, much like Denmark, doesn’t have a legally mandated minimum wage. Instead, each sector typically decides minimum wages through collective bargaining agreements. This means that trade unions and employer associations negotiate and agree on the wages. It’s a unique system that has its roots deep in Swedish labor history.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll be left in the lurch. Employers in Sweden are well aware of their responsibilities towards their employees. As a general guide, you can expect a minimum wage in Sweden of about SEK 130 per hour. Of course, this can vary depending on the industry and your level of experience.

So, what does this look like in a broader context? Well, if you’re working full-time (which is typically 40 hours per week in Sweden), you can expect to earn approximately SEK 20,800 a month. Remember, this is a gross salary, so taxes will be deducted from this amount.

To give you a better idea, let’s break it down into different currencies:

Average Minimum wage Sweden Svenska KronaUSDEuro
HourlySEK 130$14.50€12.30
MonthlySEK 20,800$2,320€1,968
YearlySEK 249,600$27,840€23,616

These are rough estimates and the exact amounts can fluctuate based on current exchange rates. But this gives you a ballpark figure of what to expect when it comes to minimum wage in Sweden.

Facts about Minimum Wage in Sweden

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of wages in Sweden. After all, there’s more to your paycheck than just the minimum wage.

Sweden is a proud member of the European Union and boasts one of the highest standards of living in the world. This high standard of living is reflected in the wages, which are among the highest across all developed nations, especially within the EU. This is one of the many reasons why expats love to settle in Sweden, despite the high taxes.

Yes, you heard that right – taxes in Sweden are pretty high. But before you start packing your bags, hear us out. Most people don’t mind paying these high taxes because Sweden is a welfare state. This means that the taxes you pay are invested back into society, providing everyone with access to free healthcare, free education, and a robust social security system. It’s a bit like making a long-term investment in your own well-being and that of the society you live in.

Many foreigners who are considering a move to Sweden are often surprised to learn about this unique approach to minimum wage. But once they understand the system, they see the benefits it brings, both to individuals and to society as a whole.

Average Salary in Sweden

Now that we’ve covered the minimum wage and unemployment benefits, let’s talk about the average salary in Sweden. After all, it’s always good to know what you might expect to earn beyond the minimum wage.

Sweden, being a developed welfare state, has a relatively small gap between the minimum wage and the average salary. According to the latest statistics, the average salary in Sweden is approximately SEK 27,300 after tax. This means that on average, people earn more than the minimum wage we discussed earlier.

It’s important to note that this is just an average figure. Your salary can vary greatly depending on your profession, level of experience, and the region in Sweden where you work. For instance, jobs in larger cities like Stockholm or Gothenburg often pay more than jobs in smaller towns or rural areas.

So, while the minimum wage gives you a baseline, don’t limit your expectations to it. With the right skills and experience, you could earn much more than the minimum wage in Sweden.

Working in Sweden

Let’s shift gears and talk about Sweden’s job market. If you’re a foreigner looking to work in Sweden, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a strong demand for skilled foreign workers. And the best part? Many of these roles don’t require you to know Swedish. That’s right, English is widely spoken in the Swedish workplace, which is a big plus for foreign professionals.

Sweden’s job market is diverse and dynamic, with several sectors experiencing rapid growth. These include the energy sector, IT, research and development (R&D), beverages, and pharmaceuticals. While many jobs are based in major cities like Stockholm or Gothenburg, there are also plenty of opportunities in other parts of Sweden.

If you’re from the European Union, you’ll find that skilled positions in Sweden often offer higher salaries than other EU nations. But what if you’re looking for low-skilled positions? While Sweden does have openings for these roles, getting work permits for them can be a bit more challenging. These positions are often filled by nationals from third-world countries with legal rights to reside in the country.

One of the unique aspects of the labor market in Sweden is its focus on flexibility for employers, security for employees, and an active labor market. This means that the system is designed to meet the needs of employers, employees, and those who are unemployed.

When you work in Sweden, you’ll find that there’s a strong emphasis on skills development and education. This means that you’ll always have opportunities to acquire new skills and improve your knowledge and qualifications. It’s a great way to keep growing professionally.

And if you’re unemployed, don’t worry. Sweden has robust services to help job seekers find employment. This means that even when you’re between jobs, you’ll have the support and assistance you need to find your next opportunity.

Bonus Tip: Unemployment Benefits in Sweden

Alright, time for a bonus tip! Did you know that if you happen to lose your job in Sweden, you’re not left high and dry? That’s right, Sweden has a pretty solid unemployment benefits system in place to support you during such times.

If you’ve been working in Sweden and become unemployed, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits, also known as “A-kassa”. This is a form of insurance that workers in Sweden can join. While it’s not compulsory, it’s highly recommended because it provides you with a safety net in case you lose your job.

To be eligible for these benefits, you need to have been working for at least 6 months (or 480 hours) during the last 12 months, or have worked for at least 1,920 hours in the last 4 years. The amount you receive depends on your previous income and can be up to 80% of your previous salary, though there is a cap to this.

Remember, it’s always good to be prepared for any situation. So, if you’re working in Sweden, consider joining the unemployment insurance fund related to your profession. It’s a small step that can provide you with a big safety net.

Related: Everything you need to know about student loans in Sweden


What is Sweden’s living wage?

The concept of a “living wage” varies depending on the city and lifestyle, but on average, a single person would need around SEK 12,000-15,000 after tax per month to cover basic expenses including rent, food, and transportation in Sweden.

Does Sweden pay hourly?

Yes, many jobs in Sweden are paid on an hourly basis, especially part-time jobs. However, full-time jobs are often advertised with a monthly salary.

How much is a good salary in Sweden?

A “good” salary can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle, family size, and where in Sweden you live. However, a salary of SEK 30,000 to SEK 50,000 per month is generally considered a good salary for a single person.

How much do you get paid at McDonald’s in Sweden?

Based on data from Glassdoor, the salary at McDonald’s in Sweden can vary depending on the position. For example, a crew member’s salary can range from SEK 110 to SEK 130 per hour. Please note that these figures are estimates and can vary.

Why doesn’t Sweden have a minimum wage?

Sweden doesn’t have a legally mandated minimum wage. Instead, wages are decided through collective bargaining agreements within each sector. This system allows trade unions and employer associations to negotiate wages, which can lead to better working conditions and pay for employees. It’s a unique system that has its roots deep in Swedish labor history.


  1. Sjödin, E. (2022). European minimum wage: A Swedish perspective on EU’s competence in social policy in the wake of the proposed directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. International Labour Review. Link
  2. Skedinger, P. (2008). Sweden: A Minimum Wage Model in Need of Modification? Research Institute of Industrial Economics. Link
  3. Vaughan-Whitehead, D. (2010). The Minimum Wage Revisited in the Enlarged EU. Edward Elgar Publishing. Link
  4. Nelson, K., Nieuwenhuis, R., & Alm, S. (2019). Sweden: Adjoining the Guarantee Pension with NDC. World Bank Group. Link

ABOUT Tobias Sjöström

Tobias brings much experience from his time at one of Sweden’s largest banking institutions. He’s not just our lead financial guide; he’s also an avid traveler who understands the challenges expats face.

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