Moving to Iceland for a Job

Moving to Iceland for a Job

Moving to a new country takes courage. It also creates exciting opportunities and new beginnings. Taking the time to learn what to expect - and what is expected of you - will help you make the most of your opportunities. This blog post is intended to help you over the many hurdles faced when moving to Iceland.

The population of Iceland is recorded at 320,169 (1 October 2008): one of the only populations where there is approxiamtely 50% men and 50% women. The Icelandic nation is one of the youngest in Europe - with an average age of around 36 years and 74% of the population being under 50 years of age. Additionally, the Icelandic labour market is characterised by a high participation rate (around 84% of all able-bodied individuals in the 16-74 year age bracket).

The labour market

According to statistics, 35% of employees work in jobs that require a university education or other specialised knowledge. Office and commercial workers number around 26%, tradesmen 13%, and 12% are unskilled workers. Farmers and fishermen account for around 5% of the working population. Another characteristic of the Icelandic labour market is the high proportion of trade union membership, at around 85%.

Between 2007 and 2008, unemployment was 1%. The number of unemployed was just under 9,000 at the end of 2008, a rate of just under 5%.

Job searching

There are a number of ways to go about job searching, but it is a good idea to start looking for a job before you move to Iceland. Visiting the EURES Job Mobility Portal is a wise first step for job seeking in Iceland:

All vacancies from the Public Employment Service in Iceland are published automatically in the Job Mobility Portal. This can be a great advantage, but also a drawback as they are in Icelandic. It can be confusing to see many job advertisements in a language that only few understand. We have tried to solve this:

Some of the job vacancies are marked with the EU flag and are translated to English or in exceptional cases to Scandinavian languages. Other vacancies are in Icelandic. The EU flagged vacancies mean that speaking Icelandic is not a must and/or the employer wants to recruit from other EU/EEA countries.

Here are some other ways to job search in Iceland. For best results, you may wish to use all of the methods listed below.

Employment agencies [ráðningarþjónustur]: You can register, free of charge, with one or many professional employment agencies. They will tell you what information you need to have readily available. For instance, a CV/résumé, certificates, diplomas and references.

Here are some links to some job agencies:

  • Public Employment Services
  • Ráðningarþjónustan
  • Fréttablaðið (Local newspaper)
  • Morgunblaðið (Local newspaper
  • Quality of life – on top of the EU social policy agenda

Living standards

Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities. The European Union has set for itself the aim to constantly improve the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe.

If you are ready for a new adventure choose to Iceland!