There’s no denying Sweden is a great place to work. Swedish employees have some of the world’s best vacation, healthcare, pension, and job security benefits. Combine that with several high-ranking universities and it’s easy to see why Sweden is a favourite destination for academics. Here's a breakdown of the most common Swedish academic jobs and their salaries. All salary statistics in this article are in Swedish kronor (SEK) and are pre-tax. Swedish taxes are based on where you live (around 30%) and how much you earn.
PhD Student Salary
A student working towards a PhD is called a doktorand in Swedish. On average it takes four years to complete a PhD in Sweden. Each university regulates its PhD salaries in a local collective agreement. This means that base salaries and the accompanying salary scales will differ between universities. For example at Karolinska Institutet, PhD student salaries range from 27,900 kr to 31,200 kr per month. At KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the minimum PhD salary was 30,300 kr and the maximum was 34,800 kr per month. According to SACO, the Swedish Academics Central Organization, the median salary for a PhD student in September 2020 was 30,223 kr per month.
After earning their PhD, most researchers go on to do a postdoc or postdoktor in Swedish. In Sweden, postdocs can either be on a stipend/fellowship or have an employment contract with their university. Stipend postdocs are not entitled to the benefits that usually come with an employment contract (such as sick pay and paid parental leave), however their stipends are not taxed. According to SACO the average salary for a postdoc in Sweden in September 2020 was 37,548 kr per month. The median postdoc salary at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2022 is 38,000 kr per month.
Biträdande Lektor Salary
Biträdande Lektor is the Swedish position equivalent to a tenure-track assistant professor. It is a position that allows an academic who earned their PhD in the last five years to develop as a researcher, scholar, and teacher. At the end of their contact, the biträdande lektor is evaluated promoted to the permanent position of lektor if successful. The average salary for a biträdande lektor was 44,760 kr per month in September 2020 according to SACO and the median salary at KTH Royal Institute of Technology for 2022 is 48,960 kr per month.
This position is equivalent to a tenured associate professor. In addition to researching and publishing, a lektor is expected to teach and supervise PhD students. The average monthly salary for a lektor was 49,586 kr in September 2020 according to SACO. The median salary for this position at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2022 is 57,500 kr per month while at Uppsala University it is 52,900 kr per month.
This position used to be quite rare at Swedish universities as was only held by department chairs, but since 1999 it has become more and more common. Similar to a full professor in the US, Swedish professors have strong publication records, proven teaching skills, and have been successful as a PhD supervisor. They have usually established themselves as an international or national leader in their field. According to SACO, the average monthly salary of a Swedish professor was 67,550 kr per month in September 2020 but there is some variance from university to university. In 2022, professors were paid a median of 78,050 kr per month at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and a median of 78,266 kr per month at Uppsala University.