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Employment in the Nordic countries - statistics & facts

Known for its good working conditions, high salaries, and work-life balance, the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are an attractive place to work for many people. For instance, the concept of the so-called Nordic model has become known outside the region. Core principles of the model are low rates of unemployment, low degrees of economic inequality, high gender equality, and equal opportunities within health care and education. To achieve this, the state plays an active role to redistribute the resources via taxes and other mechanisms.

Looking at the numbers, the five Nordic countries have managed to achieve this in the employment sector. Employment rates are generally high in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden, and are expected to increase in the years to come. Furthermore, employment rates are high among both men and women, and unemployment rates are expected to remain relatively low in the coming years, despite the impact of COVID-19. On the other hand, youth unemployment rates are above the EU average in both Finland and Sweden, but they are below the EU average in Denmark, Iceland, and Norway. Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are EU members, whereas Norway and Iceland are members of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Earnings and working conditions

Not only the employment figures are high in the five Nordic countries. Annual average earnings are high too, with Norway and Iceland having the highest income levels. Average working hours are at or just below 40 per week, although Icelanders work significantly more than Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and Fins. Furthermore, except for Finland, fewer people in the Nordic countries work on weekends than in other members of the EU. These two aspects show the importance of work-life balance in the Nordic countries. Despite this, the picture is mixed regarding work-related health problems. Whereas more than one fourth of Fins report work-related health issues, only nine percent of Danes do the same.

Future labor market and largest employers

In the coming years, the labor market situation in the five Nordic countries is expected to change. For instance, the number of professionals and legislators, senior officials, and managers are expected to increase, whereas the number of clerks and skilled agricultural and fishery workers is expected to fall. Moreover, it is forecast that there will be a high demand for business and administration associate professionals as well as personal care workers in the near future. Except for Finland, it is estimated that people with a high educational level will increase the most in the countries' workforces in the coming years. Today, the security company Securitas AB is the largest employer in the Nordic countries, with nearly 300,000 employees. In terms of profits, the pharmaceutical company Takeda Pharma is the most successful.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Employment in the Nordic countries".


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