We have SCB, Statistiska Centralbyråns (Statistics Sweden), official statistics, but that’s quite limited. It lumps all developers together as one.
As we were unable to find what we were looking for I decided to take matters into my own hands a created a survey. I got 216 answers, so my findings are not to be taken as a complete truth, but it gives us an indication of salaries in Sweden today.
For those of you who don’t want to read the whole post, here’s what I considered the most interesting findings.
- Once you reach approx. 10 years of experience, your educational background doesn’t matter.
- Salaries can vary A LOT between companies.
Salaries in Sweden
This survey was aimed at those living and working in Sweden, but that doesn’t mean that only people in Sweden will read this post 🙂 So, let me explain a bit about Swedish salaries.
The numbers stated here are monthly salary, before tax, in SEK. How much tax you pay depends on which municipality you live in, but it’s generally around 30%.
If you want to find out a bit more about recruitment in Sweden I suggest you check out Recruiting Brainfood’s guide on how to hire in Sweden.
Salaries by education
The first thing I had a closer look at was Average Salary combined with Education. In my survey I divided them into 5 groups:
High School (Gymnasium)
Trade School (YH)
Unfortunately, I did not get enough answers from people with a PhD, so chose to not include those results.
One thing that sticks out in diagram 1a on the right is that the average salary for those with only a High School diploma is a lot higher than the others. I think we have to overlook this as I only had 20 answers in this category, some who had gone halfway through some sort higher studies but not completed them.
Highest (80′) & Lowest (20′)
The lowest reported salary for someone with a high school diploma was 20′. This was someone with less than a years experience. Let’s put that into comparison with the other types of education:
High School – 20′
Trade School – No data
Bachelors – 30′
Masters – 33′
PhD – No data
(lowest salary reported in the survey)
When getting your very first job, your level of education has an effect on your starting salary. So it should. But looking at Diagram 1a above, once you start getting some more experience, your level of education doesn’t seem to have that great effect on your salary.
The highest reported salary from someone with a High School diploma was 80′. They work as a consultant and have 3-5 year experience. As we know, consultants generally have quite high wages. The very highest salary reported was 100′, from a freelance consultant with a Bachelors Degree and 10-20 years of experience.
There was also an engineering manager, with a good salary, with “only” a High School diploma, again showing us that in the long run is what you know that matters, not your education.
Salaries by job title
Is there a difference in salary between different type of developers? Does a backend developer earn more than a frontend one?
Let’s find out!
Starting out as a frontend developer you can expect a starting salary around 30′, at least if you believe my survey 🙂 And, your salary will pretty much be the same as your backend colleagues’ throughout your career.
Looking at Diagram 1b you can see that it seems that as a backend developer you won’t get paid much in your first job. But that’s not true. The majority of the backend developers with less than one year’s experience who answered my survey had not studied at university nor trade school. So that’s more an indication of the salary you can expect with no degree behind you.
As a backend developer, with a degree, your starting salary is more likely to be around 30′.
On the face of things, Fullstack developers seem to be the lowest paid ones looking at diagram 1b. Again, I only had 216 participants in this survey, so I don’t think we can make that bold a claim. The salaries for the Fullstack developers in this survey range from 29′ (Trade School, 1-2 years of experience) to 82′ (Tech Lead, Bachelors Degree, 10-20 years of experience).
iOS & Android
I’ve decided to lump these two together as they show similar results. Out of the developers in this survey, mobile developers are the highest paid. Again, this does not mean this is the case if you take all developers in Sweden into consideration. Interesting nonetheless.
Site Reliability Engineer
I didn’t get too many answers from Site Reliability Engineers so that stats are a bit skew-whiff. No-one with less than 5, or more than 20, years of experience has answered. So I only have answers from to 5-10 years bracket. As you can see from Diagram 1b, less experience mean higher salary, which I don’t think would be the case with a bigger survey.
But what it does indicate is that where you work, as in who is your employer, can make a big difference on your salary.
Consultants – employed & freelance
I don’t think it comes as a surprise to any of us that if money is what drives you, consultancy is the way to go. More specifically freelance.
I have chosen not to included these in the diagram as the were all 70+
Which type of developer earns the most?
Consultants aside, it seems as if it’s mobile development you should go for if you want a higher salary than your peers. iOS or Android doesn’t seem to matter.
Room for improvement
The thing with doing surveys is that they often leave you with more questions than they have answered. When I look at the details on some of the answers, especially for those having a lower salary than average, despite a masters degree etc, I want to know “Are they female?”, and that’s a question I completely forgot to include in the survey (perhaps that’s a good sign, that I didn’t even think of that being a factor?).
This was a fun project that gave me, and hopefully you, some interesting insights into the Swedish developer salaries. However, with only 216 people participating, we cannot draw any real conclusions from it. The survey, and my experience as a recruiter, tells me that education only really matters in the first few years of your career. Later on it’s your experience and knowledge that matters. This also support by the statistics from SCB also shown in Diagram 2 here on the right.
What I will do is leave the survey open ’til the end of the year to see if we can get even better data. Please do share it with your networks, and let’s see if we can get some more conclusive results. You can find the survey at https://sv.surveymonkey.com/r/T72PXFL
If you want me to pull out any other stats from the survey, then just let me know!
My name is Sofia Broberger and I’m a freelance sourcing and recruitment consultant focusing on IT/Tech recruitment.
I have a background in teaching and really enjoy combining my experience as a teacher with my love for sourcing. I’m available to give tailor-made workshops and lectures/talks on sourcing, tech recruitment and employer branding.