PhD, Postdoc, and Professor Salaries in Sweden
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 26,300kr to 28,300kr per month in 2018. At KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2017, the minimum PhD salary was 29,200kr and the maximum was 34,000kr per month. At Uppsala University, doctoral salaries ranged from 26,100kr to 31,500kr per month in 2017. According to SACO, the Swedish Academics Central Organization, the median salary for a PhD student in 2016 was 27,900kr per month.
After earning their PhD, most researchers go on to do a postdoc. 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 2016 was 35,200kr per month. Postdocs at Karolinska Institutet earned a median salary of 32,500kr per month in 2017, while the median postdoc salary at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2018 is 35,800kr 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 40,000kr per month in 2016 according to SACO and the median salary at KTH Royal Institute of Technology for 2018 is 46,795kr 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 44,500 in 2016 according to SACO. The median salary for this position at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2018 is 52,600kr per month while at Uppsala University it is 49,500kr per month. At Karolinska Institutet the median salary in 2017 was 53,145kr 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 60,800kr per month but there is some variance from university to university. At Karolinska Institutet, 71,768kr per month was the median salary in 2017. In 2018, professors were paid a median of 72,000kr per month at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and a median of 74,900kr per month at Uppsala University.
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