How to Get a Job in Nordic Countries (Scandinavian)

Getting a job in a foreign land can be scary and unsettling, especially when one is unsure how to go about it. If you are a young professional looking to grow and expand your career options and opportunities, it’s time to consider the Nordic region. In this article, we would show you how to get a job in Nordic countries (Scandinavian), amongst other relevant information about the region and where to start.

What are Nordic Countries?

According to Wikipedia, Nordic countries also commonly referred to as the Nordics or Norden, is a geographical region in Northern Europe. The region also sits on the North Atlantic. Beyond geographical similarities, the people of the region share similar cultural resemblances. It is an economically thriving region with naturally beautiful landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and a happy populace.

The Nordic region comprises five (5) countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, all of which are independent countries. The region also includes the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland and the autonomous region of Åland. As of September 2021, the region had a total population of over 27 million people.

The term ‘Scandinavian’ is often used to refer to Nordic countries, but the term refers more to the monarchies of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The total area covered by Nordic countries is 3,425,804 square kilometers (1,322,710 sq mi).

Nordic countries are known to maintain a high standard of living, low-income disparity, and relatively low unemployment rates. In terms of employment rates, Nordic countries continue to have one of the highest in Europe:

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  • Sweden at about 70%
  • Iceland has an average of 75%
  • Denmark stands at about 65%
  • Norway slightly above 69% and, 
  • Sweden at about 72%

While Nordic countries share similar beliefs, political and cultural inclinations, their currencies differ slightly. Below is a list of Nordic countries and their currencies:

  • Finland –  Euro
  • Norway – Norwegian krone
  • Iceland – Icelandic króna
  • Denmark – Danish krone
  • Sweden – Swedish krona

Why Nordic Countries are referred to as Scandinavian Countries?

As earlier stated, the Nordic countries share a lot in common. Their welfare models, political beliefs and linguistic ties make them look like an organized confederation. Though they are all autonomous states, the geography, political structure and culture of Nordic countries are the reason they are referred to as Scandinavian countries.

According to a report, Danish and Swedish universities actively promoted the shared history, mythology, arts, and culture of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. This gave birth to the term “Scandinavia”, which was coined in the early 18th century.

Scandinavia can be understood in terms of geography, culture, or language, but all largely refers to the region occupied by the Nordic countries. As geography, it denotes the collection of countries in Northern Europe which includes Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Finland and Iceland are not regarded as Scandinavia by geography but by culture.

Which Nordic Countries are in the EU?

Despite being a part of the European continent, not all Nordic countries are members of the European Union (EU). The benefits of being a member of the EU are numerous, the most significant being ease of movement and trade relations. If you are looking to move to a Nordic country to live or work, knowing which ones are members of the EU is a healthy consideration to bear in mind.

The following Nordic States are members of the European Union: Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. To allow citizens of member states of the EU to thrive, common rules are enacted to ensure harmony, making life easier for residents and citizens of EU member states.

However, the rest, Iceland and Norway, are members of the European Economic Area (EEA). This allows their citizen to enjoy certain benefits and privileges across the European continent.

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 How to Get a Job in Nordic Countries

Like most European countries, Nordic countries are organized. The system works, the people are committed to community building, the work environment is safe and conducive. It is not as difficult as many may assume, but you have to follow the due process and meet all eligibility requirements. The general requirements for living and working in any Nordic country are largely the same, but depending on your Nordic country of choice, there might be slight variances.

1. Get a work permit

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you would be required to get a work permit. Without a work permit, you would not be able to work even if you have a job already. To get a work permit, the specific requirements differ slightly depending on which Nordic country, but below are general requirements:

  • You must have received an official offer of employment from your employer in the Nordic country.
  • For skilled jobs, you must meet the relevant educational requirements.
  • The job must meet a certain minimum salary level, which depends on the type of job and skill level.
  • You are required to hold a valid passport in your home country.

2. Perform recognition of qualifications

Most of the Nordic countries would require that you perform recognition of your qualifications to get a job and work. Check the official website of your chosen country for more information, as requirements defer slightly from one Nordic country to the other.

3. Tweak your CV/Resume

Also, the style of writing and emphasis differ from society to society and the same applies to Nordic countries. Fine-tuning your CV would increase your chances of getting noticed and considered by recruiters or employers in your Nordic country of choice.

4. Tailor your cover letter

When applying for any job or sending your CV to a recruiter, recruitment agency, or employer directly, make sure your cover is specifically tailored to the organization and job role you want. Your cover letter should grab attention and project you as a professional. Be sure to include relevant jargon while describing your value proposition.

5. Engage a recruitment agency

To increase your chances of getting a job quicker, conveniently and at a relatively cheaper cost, we highly recommend engaging a recruitment agency. If you are looking to work in Norway or Sweden, we have put together Top Recruitment Agencies in Norway Recruiting Foreigners and 10 Biggest and Best Sweden Recruitment Agencies.

Settling into work in any of the Nordic countries wouldn’t be difficult as the countries in the region have functional systems – a delightsome populace, working economies, functional healthcare system, and conducive work environment. Learning the local language is not a major requirement, but learning a new language has never killed any professional, and really, why not?

 To find job opportunities in Nordic countries, a good place to start is to decide which Nordic country you want to work in. Once you decide, it would be easier for you to research where to find job opportunities that match your skill set and desires. Our career resources page is replete with helpful recruitment guides as well as employment tips for young professionals like you.

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