Scandinavian Labour Market

How is the labour market for engineers in Scandinavian countries?

The relatively high level of social standards in the Nordic countries is not least due to the high degree of union density for all groups of employees, including engineers. The trade unions play an active role promoting the interests of their members at both international and national level. They are engaged in collective bargaining with employers’ organizations. They are also present at the work places closely cooperating with their shop stewards to help members with their individual concerns. The trade unions of engineers are also professional societies offering you possibilities to develop your skills aScannd competences and enabling you to get in contact with the latest knowledge and networks in your field of engineering.

In the Nordic countries working conditions are mostly laid down by collective agreements. The labour market legislation is mainly concentrated on health and safety issues. There are however certain exceptions in the countries. In everyday life many questions are solved by the elected shop stewards in the companies. Works councils consisting of both representatives from the management and the employees are elected in most undertakings.

In Sweden and in Norway engineers are typically comprised by collective agreements administrated by the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers (Sveriges Ingenjörer) and the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists (NITO). In Denmark engineers working in the public sector are comprised by collective agreements administrated by the Danish Society of Engineers (IDA), while engineers in the private sector are typically employed by individual agreements with their employer. The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists and the Danish Society of Engineers all offer their members professional assistance and guidance before, during and after an employment. If you want to work in a Nordic country you are recommended to participate actively in the trade union activities at your work place.

Sweden and Denmark are full members of the European Union (EU). Norway is not a member of EU but according to an international agreement fully associated with the single European market including free movement of capital, goods, services and persons. All Nordic countries are therefore subject to legislation adopted by the EU for instance the directives on working time and working environment. The Nordic countries also have an own old agreement establishing a common labor market in the 5 Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland). Normally you can move freely between the Nordic countries without presenting any passport.

IDA has produced a video in English welcoming you to work as an engineer in Denmark. It gives you an introduction to the kind of cultural differences you will meet in a Scandinavian country.

Further guidance for members of unions affiliated to UNI Global Union.

If you are a member of a trade union affiliated to UNI Global Union you get access to the UNI Passport system. This passport offers you assistance and guidance from the most relevant trade union in the country where you want to work. More information on www.uniglobalunion.org. Press Professionals/Managers on the left side and after that press UNI Passport.

If you are a member of a trade union which has an agreement with the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, the Danish Society of Engineers or the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists you are offered free guidance and advice on all questions concerning your workplace during your stay in the three countries.

If you intend to work in Sweden, Denmark or Norway for a longer period we recommend you to join the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, the Danish Society of Engineers or the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists.

That will give you the utmost security concerning working conditions and pay. They also offer you professional networks inviting you to interesting conferences, seminars and discussions in your particular field of engineering.

If you are applying for a job outside Scandinavia they will get you in contact with engineers already working where you want to go.

Student seeking job

Are you a student member looking for contacts with particular companies abroad you can use the UNI global Union website. Press again Professional/Managers and after that UNI Internship. Here you can find companies around the world offering work experience. Students looking for trainees stays in various businesses.