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Sweden top ranked for brain-jobs

Feb 20, 2020 anne_pihl
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Sweden ranks second out of 31 European countries for knowledge-intensive jobs and the city of Stockholm distinguishes itself even more impressively; Stockholm is ranked third out of 278 European regions, according to a new report commissioned by investment company Nordic Capital.

Stockholm is the Nordic’s Silicon Valley

Stockholm is the Nordic’s Silicon Valley, according to Nima Sanandaji, author of the report and MD of the think-tank European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform.

The report, published for the third consecutive year, shows that Sweden continues to be a leading European knowledge nation. No other country in the EU has such a high concentration of knowledge-intensive workers as Sweden and if the current trend continues, Sweden is set to become the most knowledge-intensive country in Europe as a whole. This year, Sweden increased its share of advanced jobs to 102 per 1,000 people of working-age – just behind Switzerland which tops the European list with 106.

Where are the brain jobs?

Brain-jobs are found in companies that combine high levels of knowledge with creativity, such as companies specialised in research and development. These jobs are divided into 4 main categories: creative jobs, advanced services, tech, It & communication.

Top 10 countries

1. Switzerland
2. Sweden
3. Denmark
4. Netherlands
5. Luxembourg
6. UK
7. Germany
8. Iceland
9. Ireland
10. Finland

Top 10 regions

1. Bratislava (Slovakia)
2. Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire (UK)
3. Stockholm (Sweden)
4. Prague (Czech Republic)
5. London (UK)
6. Paris (France)
7. Budapest (Hungary)
8. Copenhagen (Denmark)
9. Hamburg (Germany)
10. Oberbayern (Germany)

Sweden’s competitive edge

Sanandaji attributes Sweden’s success to several factors including a high level of knowledge capital (aka intellectual capital) and a good reputation for entrepreneurship which leads to inflow of investment capital from other countries. Modern Swedish tax legislation allows those who create wealth through start-up companies to invest this money tax-free in other companies. Taxation is applied when profits are drawn but until then, created wealth can be used for re-investment.  Sweden also has broad based competence whilst many other countries have specialised in one area.

Are there disadvantages to a country having a large number of brain jobs?

Not really, as research and innovation create new jobs which is basically only positive for a country’s employment levels, claims Sanandaji. The only negative he sees is that property and rental prices tend to rise in cities with many well-paid jobs. The well-paid knowledge intensive jobs are a contributing factor to the expensive housing market.

More information

The full study, The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2020 Index, is available at

Need help with relocation assistance for your internationally recruited talent?

Relocate to Sweden helps your international talent navigate the Swedish property and rental market. We also assist with the practicalities of getting established in the Swedish system and cultural transition, leaving your talent with the time and energy to focus on what you pay them to do. See www.relocatetosweden for more information and a quote.

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Relocate to Sweden provides expert advice and hands-on help for companies recruiting internationally or transferring staff to Sweden. We help your international recruits with the entire relocation process including work and residence visas, home finding, tax consultancy, registration with Swedish authorities, schools, health care, translations, language and intercultural training. Email us at or call us on +46 8 361011 if you would like help. You can also read more about our relocation services at or follow us on social media for tips and advice.

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