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Sweden’s Civil Service


Sweden’s public sector workforce is particularly vast, with an estimated 1.3 million public sector employees. The public sector, or civil service as it is commonly known, accounts for around 30% of the labour market, while government department employees account for approximately 270 agencies. It is reported that only 250 employees from the 1.3 million public sector workforce, are employed by central government administration.


SAGE – Swedish Agency for Government Employers, is the responsible body for employer policy. The Swedish government has given this responsibility to SAGE as they are a dedicated organization who act on behalf of the instructions of its members.

Members of SAGE are all public administrations within the central government sector in Sweden.

Recruitment and selection to government positions

The recruitment process for government positions is detailed in the Swedish Constitution. The public Employment Act stipulates that priority is given to candidates who possess the required skills and qualifications for their given role. Depending on the government post applied for, e.g. police officer, nurse etc, there may be specific entry requirements that must be met for candidates to be considered suitable for the role.

Nevertheless, Sweden has no set recruitment procedure for individuals being selected for government posts. The recruitment of a new employee is largely down to the governmental department or agency seeking the new recruit.

Promotion within the Civil Service

Central government employees can achieve promotion and ongoing career development by attending training courses and by taking on additional responsibilities within their same position. However, when senior positions are advertised, current government staff will not receive priority over external applicants. This is because the civil service is structured on being an equal opportunities employer.

Salary packages

Central government employees’ salaries are agreed by terms of collective agreements, although it should be noted that the standards for salaries and other employee benefits are largely the same as the pay and promotion structures adopted in the overall labour market. 

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