Get a grip on Nordic working life is a free information portal about jobs, unemployment and the work life in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Our focus is on guiding people who are interested in living and working in a nordic country. On Nordicwork you will find information about how to get a job, unemployment insurance and workers unions.

Introduction to Scandinavia

To the untrained ear, of the Scandinavian languages may sound very similar to each other and while this is partially true, a Norwegian-speaker would never confuse Norwegian with Swedish and vice versa. There are three main Scandinavian languages – Norwegian, Swedish and Danish – and they all share similarities that give people knowing one of the languages a certain understanding of the other languages. Depending on factors such as accents and aptitude for languages, a Scandinavian will partially or fully understand all of the main Scandinavian languages, regardless of its own native tongue. In addition to the most commonly known Scandinavian languages, Faroese and Icelandic are also considered Scandinavian languages, but share fewer similarities with their more widespread relatives.

There are approximately 20 million Scandinavian language speakers today. Admittedly, 20 million is not a very big number in comparison with the over a billion English speakers of the world, but it is significant enough to make Scandinavian languages quite useful – especially if you see yourself living in Scandinavia long-term and want to apply for a work.

While Scandinavians tend to be good English-speakers, you should aim to learn the language of the Scandinavian country where you intend to live at some point. This will increase your chances of having a successful career as well as making social interaction easier. No matter how good of an English speaker a Scandinavian may be, speaking his or her own tongue and not worrying about the language barrier is a different experience preferred by most (although their politeness would never allow this to show).

Finding work in a Nordic country

It's becoming increasingly difficult to get a work without education or previous work experiences in a Nordic country. But it’s still possible to do so if you are reliable, responsible and not too picky. Also it helps finding out which is the most sought after career and which jobs are in demand.

The easiest way of getting a job in Sweden, is to aim for a career in home service , healthcare, child-care or primary education teaching. Educated employees in this field of work are high in demand but there are usually also openings for people without education. In Stockholm the IT-industry is booming with a lot of small up and coming companies looking for qualified people.

Norway has gone through some tough times lately with the oil crisis. Hundreds of oil service employees have been laid and the demand for engineers has gone down. Still Norway are I need of nurses and other qualified personnel. Also there are usually openings for seasonal workers in the fish industry, tourism, forestry and the restaurant industry.

Every year Danish farmers produce food sufficient to supply about15 million people – that’s three times the country population. Also Denmark is a big pig meat producer in fact there are approximately twice as many pigs as humans in the country. Needless to say quite a few people work with the food industry in Denmark. However the demand for workers in Denmark is greater in other areas, like in IT and biotech and greentech.


Learning a Scandinavian language can help you land a job

For the eager learner, there are many options for learning a Scandinavian language. Software such as Rosetta Stone has been successfully used by some while others learn by talking to people in the street. If you are serious about getting a job in Sweden, Denmark or Norway your number one priority should be learning the language.

A good stepping-stone for someone in the process of learning Swedish would be attending some of the free language classes provided for new Swedish citizens. These classes, “Svenska för invandrare”, are held to help immigrants adjust to their new lives in Sweden and gather people from all over the world. Their common denominator? The desire to learn Swedish.

Learning a Scandinavian language may take time, but once you have mastered one – the world of two others has opened up in front of you. Scandinavians work in their neighboring countries with little to no language barriers – a nice perk to keep in mind when learning Swedish grammar or Danish vocabulary becomes too straining. An increasingly large number of Swedish citizens live and work in Norway, thanks to Norwegians easily understanding Swedish.