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Ask HN: Salary in Stockholm?
59 points by gonecrazy on Jan 12, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 87 comments
Hi,

I am a software developer with experience in Python/Django/MySQL for 3 years. I am currently interviewing with Stockholm area startups. The companies are modern age startups working in the area of mobile and ecommerce. I want to know what is a good salary for 3 years experienced web developer in Stockholm area?




Guide for Stockholm workers.

1. Average Salary for a software developer with 5 year experience. 32,000 - 38,000 SEK/Month.

2. You can calculate your take-home money here [1].

3. Average 2nd hand rental apartment (30-50 sqm) 5,000 - 7000 SEK/Month. Its easy to find single-person accomodation. [2]

4. The quality of an average apartment is pleasant. Kitchen & Laundry is fully functional from day 1 in every apartment around Sweden.

5. If you've kids, then day-care (preshool) is highly subsidized & generally good quality. All education is free for everyone from age 7-70

6. Almost everyone speaks English. You'll not find any difficulty even if you dont know Swedish.

[1]. http://www.ekonomifakta.se/sv/ (you can enter kommune as Stockholm & enter your salary and date of birth)

[2] http://www.blocket.se/bostad/uthyres/stockholm?sort=&ss=&se=...


I wouldn't underestimate the difficulty and cost of finding accommodation in Stockholm. It's the number one complaint and problem of my expat (IT) friends/colleagues. Stockholm's population expansion is the fastest in Europe (behind Oslo), but zoning policies etc. have limited the rate of building new housing. Add to that the current low interest rates and you have a lot more demand than supply for housing in the Stockholm area.

It's a great city though and definitely one of the best places in the world to live in.


If you are prepared to move around a bit, finding accomodation is not that hard. Finding something to sublet for 1-6 months is trivial, what's hard is finding accomodation for one or more years in the same place.


>3. Average 2nd hand rental apartment (30-50 sqm) 5,000 - 7000 SEK/Month. Its easy to find single-person accomodation. [2]

Unless you live far out that sounds low for a 2nd hand contract. Anywhere close to the city it is more like 10k for 30 sqm.


You can find these single-person 2nd hand rentals 15 minutes metro distance from city. I wrote this from a point where you can start working as soon as possible and with assumption you are willing to commute 15-20 minutes one way from office to your residence.


Fair!

I guess I am too blinded by the prices in and around the central parts of Stockholm. :)


Remember that 15-20 minutes doesn't get you very far out though. The figures still seem low to me, and to call it easy to find such places seems to come from an alternative reality.


Depends on whether you mean 20mins on a bus/commuter train or 20min commute door-to-door. 20min on bus/commuter train easily cuts rents down by a lot, but such a commute is likely 40min in total if you include walking to the bus/train and walking from the train to the office. 5k is really low and likely only gets you a room or a small 1 room apt at the outskirts of the 20min commute.

Btw. I made an experiment that shows approximate commute times on weeekday morning (including walks to stations but no walk from Sthlm Central Station). http://commutemap.azurewebsites.net/

Edit: note the green "islands" of 20minute commute that extend along the commuter train lines.


If you're willing to deal with short (less than 6 month), not always entirely landlord approved, contracts and can move out on short notice then finding a place isn't too hard. If you want to stay put for a year and have a fully legal contract then it obviously gets a lot harder and more expensive.


I don't know if this is a cultural thing (I"m an American living and renting in Boston), but I figured the default would be people wanting "a fully legal contract" with a lease of a year or so, not looking to move every three months from illegal sublet to illegal sublet.

More precisely, when I see rents quoted for most cities, I tend to assume that people are quoting rents for standard, legal rentals, not quoting the cheapest rent possible for an illegal sublet.

Edit: I should add I'm not implying anyone in this thread is doing anything odd or misleading or anything, just that it's opening my eyes to how different rentals are over there. Thanks for that.


My wife is 25 years old and has been on the queue since she was born. We think that when we move to Stockholm we will be able to get a decent place. This is what they mean when they say "long waits in the queue for housing"...


Yeah, it's definitely a situation that wouldn't have occurred to me from my background. Around here, you mostly just look around craigslist or get a real estate agent and in a couple of weeks can find a nice, legal rental that meets your needs. I'm sorry to hear the situation is so different there and hope it improves at some point.


Again I would like to say that I'm telling from a single person point of view. Who wants to start job as soon as possible and wouldn't mind getting any reasonable rental.

I've 5 examples (1 including me.) who found a reasonable place to live for that money around Stockholm area.


Where does the quoted salary range come from? It seems a bit low to me.


I've studied and have been working in tech sector in Sweden since 2009.

I've plenty of school/work friends working across Sweden.

We discussed this many times about salaries in Stockholm, Göteborg & Malmo and then try to compare it with other European cities (London, Berlin, Paris etc.)

Most of my friends within 5 years experience are between 30,000 to 38,000 SEK /Month across Sweden. All Stockholmers are between 32,000 to 38,000.

My personal salary is more than that bracket but I've 10 years experience & know plenty of stuff from internet scalable middleware to performant front-ends, to programming languages to many species of databases. So I usually don't consider myself average & my salary range in 50s.


Thanks - I was wondering if you had it from some official statistics or if it was your own experience.

For comparison, in Copenhagen, the avg. salary for 5 yrs is around 37K DKK, which corresponds to 47K SEK. That's according to our labour union statistics. I'm a bit surprised if the difference between our two cities is really that large (but maybe it is).


All what I wrote comes from my personal experience/data. I don't follow any union/magazine's salary survey.

I've also friends who are working in Copenhagen & Salary is more there. Then there are friends who work in Copenhagen but live in Malmo because housing is more expensive in Copenhagen than anywhere in Sweden.

If I would rate Oslo, Copenhagen & Stockholm from salary point of view, it'll follow as:

1. Oslo 2. Copenhagen 3. Stockholm

All this comes from my personal circle of friends.


> housing is more expensive in Copenhagen than anywhere in Sweden

In some ways yes, in some no. Short-term or unofficial sublets are more expensive than the prices you mention elsewhere in the thread. Especially sub-lets of a single room have shot up in price, because there's a shortage of dorms in Copenhagen, so many university students are trying to do temporary room rentals on the private market.

But "proper" rentals of a regular apartment are much easier to get in Copenhagen than in Stockholm, without needing to sit on a multi-year waitlist. A typical 1-bd legal/official rental on a 1+ year contract might be around 5-7k DKK, i.e. about 6-9k SEK. A 2-bd maybe 6-10k DKK (8-13k SEK). You can certainly pay more too, but there are a lot in that range.


I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment (90 sqm) (in Göteborg) from 13 minutes tram to city center and I used to pay 6500 SEK till 2013. Now the same cost 6800 (rent increased due the inflation, landlord demand etc.).

The quality of apartments are better in Sweden than in Copenhagen. You can open blocket and book a visit to any Malmö apartment for that matter and you'll see the difference easily.

The same quality of life (living, rental etc.) is expensive in Copenhagen.


Eh, I suppose it depends on what you consider "quality of life". The apartments are quite different in Copenhagen and Malmö. I strongly prefer the ones in Copenhagen, but I can see how someone might prefer the ones in Malmö.

In my opinion most Malmö apartments are just sort of drab and depressing. Where they are nicer is that they are newer, so have elevators, more modern bathrooms, etc. But the ones I've seen have a quite... institutional feel to them. They remind me of a school or government building: 1970s or 1980s concrete-and-tile construction, arranged into big housing developments with rows of identical-looking buildings. It's practical I guess, but doesn't have much character. There are a few renovated pre-20th-century buildings in central Malmö that have a lot more character. A friend-of-a-friend has a really beautiful apartment in one of those, an old brick factory building converted to housing, with floor-to-ceiling windows and interesting architectural design. But those kinds of places aren't cheap at all.

The main problem though is that in most of Sweden it's just impossible to get a proper rental without waiting years on the waitlist. All you can get are these temporary sublets, where you're always at risk of having to move. The only other alternative, if you don't have years to wait, is to buy an apartment. You can do that pretty reasonably in Malmö if you have the money, probably cheaper than Copenhagen (but purchasing in Copenhagen is cheaper than purchasing in Stockholm).


I think we're comparing apple vs oranges.

New buildings in Sweden compares more or less the same as new buildings in Copenhagen. My point was the more or less "same kind of things" is expensive in Copenhagen.

Regarding the rentals, if you'are willing to pay more money for the new buildings, its easy to rent out in Stockholm.

I would like to say that there is NO QUEUE in Stockholm if you would like to rent out a brand new space in a modern building. Yes the supply isn't that large for new productions, but you can found a new one with first hand contract under 2 months of time.

Again, this time would be less in Copenhagen, but the rent of New Buildings are more in Copenhagen than the new buildings in Stockholm. (within 20 minutes of commute of course).


I was thinking more of classic buildings, nice brick or stone buildings with character. And somewhere bikeable to the city center, not out in the suburbs. Those are pretty easy to rent in Copenhagen on a proper contract, for pretty reasonable prices.

But if you're really willing to go 20 minutes out on S-train, Copenhagen becomes dirt cheap. 20 minutes takes you all the way out to places like Rødovre, Brøndby, Taastrup, Ishøj, or Tårnby, which are very cheap, 1-bd for more like 4k DKK (5k SEK), possibly less if you look around. Overall I just don't see Copenhagen as an expensive city for housing. Some things are expensive, but housing isn't particularly so.


Average salary for programmers in the private sector, 25-29 years old in Sweden is 31 300 SEK/month. Average salary for programmers in the private sector, all ages, in Stockholm is 43 500 SEK/month. Cant find age and region data combined though. All figures are from the official Statistics Sweden database (government statistics bureau).


You really shouldn't compare salaries through currency exchange rates. When shopping in Denmark for say 100 DKK you will get aproximately the same in Sweden shopping for 100 SEK.


They are a bit low. A friend of mine works in Stockholm making over 40k as devops sysadmin. I work as a devops sysadmin in Malmö making over 35k a month. Stockholm is much more expensive than Malmö.


The only thing expensive in Stockholm is rentals & that too in or around the City.

If you're willing to live 20-25 minutes from City, the cost isn't much different than Malmo or Göteborg.


In the link that you provided, it asks if I am a member of the Swedish church? Can you please shed some light on how that affects taxation?


If you belong to a religious federation (I do not think this is limited to the Swedish Church), your membership fee or however men of the cloth prefer to phrase things, is deducted straight through taxation. It's rather odd.


You pay a tiny amount of church tax if you are a member of the Swedish church.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax#Sweden


The Church of Sweden was the state church until 2000. As a remnant of that, they can still collect membership fees through the tax system. It is open to other churches as well.


I personally don't pay any church tax. Its only if you want to pay.

There is no way to reduce your taxes (apart from tiny tiny amount of church tax) for salaried employee.


Swedish church membership means an additional 1% tax on average.


Is that salary you quoted before or after taxes?


Every salary mention in Sweden culture/companies is before tax.

Tax is dependent on where (which kommune) you live. Its generally between 29.5% to 32% until your salary is 32,000 SEK.

You pay higher tax on income more than 32,000 SEK and it goes upto 50%.


But it's incredibly important to mention that Swedish taxes are nothing like American taxes. People balk at that number, but the truth is that there are an enormous number of provable, measurable benefits to individuals and society which the tax money goes to in Sweden. In the US our money just disappears into a big weapons-development-shaped hole. There is so much we don't get in the US for our tax dollars that it's easy to reel at the prospect of even higher taxes. My taxes in California are ten percent lower than what they will be in Sweden, but I get virtually nothing for my American tax dollars.


On the other hand, taxes may be reduced if you work more than a certain amount each year, as it has been the last eight years. But we're moving from a right-ish gov't to a left-ish now, so YMMV.


That would be before taxes.


Hi guys, as the CTO of a startup in Stockholm let me know if you have any questions. Incidentally we are also looking for developers (ruby on rails), we are well funded and about to launch our product in a few days.

Ping me on david@universalavenue.com if you want help/info/apply for a job.


Hej!

I'm in my fourth year now as a ruby developer. I make 34000 SEK/month.


== $4,207.89 / month

(to save anyone the google)


Is it before taxes or after?


Salaries/wages in sweden are normally negotiated/discussed as gross (before income taxes but after payroll taxes) per month.


Most likely before taxes, as that is the usual figure used in Sweden.


Is the tax same for everyone or are there are ways to get tax relief?


By and large it is more or less the same across Stockholm, it may vary a few percent depending on what municipality you live in.

You of course get some monetary benefits if you have kids and such.


If you are an engineer you could join the Sveriges Ingenjörer worker's union to get access to their salary database. There you can filter/group by education, age, experience and lots of more.


Can't really help you with salary figure negotiation, but make sure the other things are covered in the process:

1) Check what medical health insurances are be offered by your employer. The public health care is handling any serious things very well, but there might be significant queues to get check-ups or treatment for small things, and this could be mightily annoying. [0]

2) Check how the employer helps you in finding an apartment. There's rent control in Stockholm, the rental market is dysfunctional, and actual rental contracts are a thing like property ownership is elsewhere (except that it's black market). [1] [2]

These would be much more important than the last digits in you gross salary, out of which a significant part will be taken as taxes and mandatory social insurances.

Most other things will probably be the same regardless of what your employer specifically does, so you can study the materials published by the Swedish government to learn about social issues. [3]

[0] http://www.thelocal.se/20140117/hospital-queues-tied-to-insu...

[1] http://www.thelocal.se/20130723/49206

[2] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014241278873242023045790529...

[3] http://work.sweden.se/living-in-sweden/social-benefits/


Since we're on the topic, what would a good salary for a senior software developer be -- with fifteen years of industry programming experience -- in Stockholm at a startup? And at a major corporation?

Finally what about CTO or VP/Director of Engineering, with the same amount of industry experience? I'm trying to get a handle on these things before moving to Stockholm, as well.


I'm a senior (12y exp) dev in a "non-silly-money"-industry (i.e. not finance or SAP-contractor), regular non-startup, in-house dev only. Currently making around 600-650/y.

You should be looking at maybe 550-750/y as dev, at least for the major corporations. Startups are always hard to predict, especially if there are other compensations.


33-35 kSEK/month before tax if you have a few years experience. There seems to be a very small span, so 40k would be hard to find.

That range is about 50k USD/year, if any Bay Area people want to have a laugh.


It's not about having a laugh, really. This is a serious and interesting topic to discuss.

To be honest, 50k USD/year strikes me as low for two reasons:

1. I always assumed Sweden would have quite high taxes (indeed according to Wikipedia it seems higher than the US).

2. Stockholm sounds like an expensive place to live in, just because it's a major European capital and those are rarely cheap.


The example bracket was a little on the low end, and the USD/SEK rate is quite high currently so the numbers are a little skewed at the moment.

The taxes are quite high (25-35% income tax for the ranges we are discussing) and the salaries are relatively low, yes. You don't go working in Sweden to get rich, period.

It should be noted that the swedish salary includes 5 (mandatory) or 6 (commonly negotiated) weeks of paid vacation, and often comes with no expectation to work more than 40h/week. This is a cultural difference that weighs heavily in favour of the lower swedish salary. Still, the swedish tech salaries are very low compared to the US. There are other reasons: One reason the salary structure in sweden is quite flat is likely that higher education is free and grants/subsidies/loans to studens are decent. This means that getting higher education is very low risk (so in itself doesn't motivate a large reward).

Simply put: your salary in sweden is what you need to live. You don't save to afford a long unpaid holiday, you don't save (a lot) for retirement, you don't save money in case you get sick, you don't save towards you childrens education and so on and so forth.


I live in argentina and you are lucky if you make more than 12k USD/year in software industry here. So sad :(


A salary number on its own doesn't say much, though. What are the living costs like? In other words, where does the 12k put you compared to the median income? What percentile?


I don't know the percentile where I am. The basic wage is 4716 pesos/month. That's 336 dollars at black market rate and 551 at the fictitious. With the basic wage you are poor, you can't rent, you can't buy food, you can't pay anything. I make 928 dollars month, and with this you can't buy a home, car, etc etc


That's true. In Guatemala the developer salary is around $800 - $2000 / Month. And minimum wage is around $312.


It's unfortunate salaries are so low, if they were even in the ballpark of Bay Area salaries I would have already moved. I had a great offer in many ways in Stockholm, but it's hard to justify an $80k+ pay cut.


How bad is the language barrier? I know most Swedes speak English (in my experience, excellent english), but is Swedish the language of business? I obviously don't speak a word of Swedish.


Depends on the sector.

Companies like Spotify are unlikely to require Swedish but something like more traditional consultancies usually want Swedish.

In the multinationals you can manage without Swedish but it tends to be harder to get a job if you do not speak Swedish.


Sweden has a tradition of equality that is very strong: salaries are very closely tight, so most engineer positions would fall within 35-40k Kr/m.


When I was interviewing for various dev jobs fresh out of university a couple of years ago, we were discussing salaries at or just below 30k SEK / month. I finally ended up accepting a job with a similar salary, but elsewhere.

If I were you, I would not settle for anything less than 35k. Maybe you can push it to 40k.


To get a better picture of salaries in relation to cost of living, you should probably also check out http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country... .


Not sure how startup salaries are related to other salaries, and there may be other benefits involved there. 40k/mo would be considered "good", and 30k/mo would be considered "not good".


Right now, I am also a software developer (recently worked in Python) trying to find a job within Sweden. What are good ways to find a job in sweden, any popular job forums, websites and etc? Kindly enlighten.


For startups I linked another poster to: http://swedishstartupspace.com/job-board/

and "try visiting STHLM Tech Meetup's bar mingle after each event: http://www.meetup.com/STHLM-Tech-Meetup/ "

But also check out Linkedin and monster and such for corporate jobs. I believe most are up there. Otherwise try to network with people working in the big corps, that is usually the best way to get in.


The government job agency is also a good place to check:

http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/Globalmeny/Other-languages....

I think search is just in Swedish, but many jobs are listed in English:

http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/4.38a41afd11d99fbdb65800016...


Try linkedin.


You can check the real value of your salary on this site: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/


Glassdoor might give you a good idea!


Kind of OT but can you please share some Stockholm startups hiring Python programmers? Thanks!


Check out http://swedishstartupspace.com/job-board/

They may have some postings that could suit you. If nothing else you can find some startups worth looking into.

Other than that, try visiting STHLM Tech Meetup's bar mingle after each event: http://www.meetup.com/STHLM-Tech-Meetup/


Slight off-topic to non-Europeans: if you are planning to visit Europe, start with Stockholm.


$143.83 (122 euro) NYC to Stockholm Wed Jan 21. norwegian.com


Why?


The most beautiful city, the most beautiful women, the most hilarious sense of humor.


Do remember to avoid the winter months (november through februrary), and if you want to avoid the cold entirely, also skip the pre-winter (sept to oct) and the end-of-winter (march to may). You should go in spring (june), summer (july) or fall (august). Joking? Half joking only, sadly :/


The nine months of very death metal winter are worth those three months of paradise though. :)


Stockholm mostly gets shoegazer winters. Dull, grey, drab, wet and mostly completely uninteresting.


So like everyday London?


If you replace the drizzles with blizzards and remove several hours of daylight in the dark half of the year, all of which is repaid in the bright half of the year.


Anything between 400000 - 450000 sek per year is reasonable for that level of experience.


400 000 - 450 000 SEK /y


And how much you take home? And how much is the average rent?


With an income of 37,500 SEK/month (salaries in Sweden are generally discussed as a monthly number, not yearly) in Stockholm, you're going to be paying around 25% in income tax (according to http://www.ekonomifakta.se/Fakta/Skatter/Rakna-pa-dina-skatt... which is a calculator).

Average rent is very very hard to answer, it will depend on a bunch of factors such as location, building age, the exact form of contract, and so on. Getting a "pure" rental apartment is very very difficult, the required queue times to get one in central Stockholm are silly.

This list http://www.hemhyra.se/stockholm/stockholms-dyraste-och-billi... (in Swedish, but it's mostly street names and prices) show values between 320 and 1,745 SEK/m^2/year. Homes in Sweden are always specified using the exact floor area in square meters.


At that range, expect 30% tax; rent is about 8k-10k/m. That and transport could total to half of your non-tax budget.


8-10k would be for a 1 bedroom apartment in most cases.


Yes: one room appartement reasonnably close, or a larger place further away -- most of my colleagues there spend the same, some had a longer commute.




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