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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.5Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Planning Policy 

There is no national national planning policy for supply and demand of university academic staff. The higher education institutions are responsible for their staff planning. The vice-chancellor is appointed by the government after consultation with the higher education institution. 

Entry to the Profession 

Higher education institutions are responsible for employing their academic staff. They also determine the types and number of posts needed. The recruitment is an open process and the vacant posts are advertised internally and externally in newspapers, professional journals and relevant websites. 

The vice-chancellor shall be appointed by a government decision for a period of no more than six years on the basis of a proposal from the board of governors of the higher education institution. The appointment may be extended but no more than twice and for no more than three years at a time. Before the board of governors submits its proposal, consultation shall take place with the teachers, other employees and students in the manner determined by the board of governors. In the process of proposing a vice-chancellor, the board of governors shall as far as possible consider both female and male candidates. The board of governors shall account to the government for the way in which the gender equality aspect has been taken into account.

The assessment criteria for appointment as a professor shall be the degree of the expertise required as a qualification for employment. As much attention shall be given to the assessment of teaching expertise as to the assessment of research or artistic expertise. Each higher education institution determines itself what assessment criteria are otherwise to apply to the appointment of a professor.

Career development positions

A teacher may be employed for an indefinite period but for no longer than four years in order to enable her or him to develop research autonomy and acquire the qualifications required for eligibility for appointment to another teaching post for which more advanced qualifications are demanded. This appointment may be extended if because of illness, parental leave or other special grounds additional time is needed to attain the purpose of the appointment. The total period of employment may not, however, exceed six years.

Research and teaching staff are increasingly better educated. The number with third cycle programmes has increased from 12 200 to 18 300 full-time positions between 2001 and 2012. The number of women with third cycle programmes has increased from 3 300 to 7 200 full-time positions and the number of men from 8 800 to 11 100 full-time positions during the same period. This means that the share with third cycle programmes has increased from 56 percent to 66 percent during the period.

Professional Status

Teachers at state universities and university colleges are appointed by the institutions and are state employees. With its 73 600 employees at 44 agencies higher education has the largest number of number of employees in the central government sector. 

The entire public sector has shared core values based on laws and regulations. The common core values for public sector employees rest on six principles:

  1. Democracy: all public power proceeds from the people.
  2. Legality: public power is exercised under the law.
  3. Impartiality, objectivity and equality: everyone is equal before the law. Public authorities and courts are to treat everyone equally.
  4. Freedom of opinion: Swedish democracy is founded on freedom of opinion.
  5. Respect: public power is to be exercised with respect for people’s freedom and equal value.
  6. Efficiency and service: the organisation is to be run as economically as possible with the highest quality achievable with the available resources. 


Salaries are not based on a salary scale, thus there is no direct link between salary and years of employment although experienced teachers usually have higher salaries. Salaries at higher education institutions are individual and differentiated and are determined locally. Salaries at all institutions are individually negotiated between the teacher, the employer and a trade union, and there are no salary scales or rules on minimum or maximum years of work before obtaining any specific salary level.


Teaching staff in higher education institutions
Median salary, SEK per month 
Doctoral student (Doktorand) 25 900
Postdoctoral fellow (Forskarassistent) 33 000
Lecturer (Lektor)
41 500
Professor 56 000

Source: Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges akademikers centralorganisation)

Working Time and Holidays

Teachers at universities and university colleges have a 40-hour working week and 28 (until the age of 29), 31 or 35 (starting at the age of 40) days of holidays. The teaching staff members usually have their holidays during the students’ holidays.  

Promotion, Advancement

Promotion of teaching staff in the higher education sector is regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance. A senior lecturer permanently employed at a state higher education institution shall on application be promoted to a permanent position as a professor at the institution, if the senior lecturer is qualified for such a position. Corresponding rules apply for promotion from a position as junior lecturer to senior lecturer. Teaching skills are emphasised in the qualification requirements for all categories of teachers. The school head carries out the promotion.  

Retirement and Pensions

As regulated by the central agreements between the trade unions and the employers' organisation all categories of teachers retire at the age of 65. There are possibilities to retire between the ages between 60-65, and in such a case the pension is reduced for each calendar month of retirement before the age of 65. State employees (staff at state universities and university colleges) may opt for part-retirement from the age of 61 with little loss in retirement pension. Employees have the right to, if he or she so wishes, remain at work up to the age of 67. 

The Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen)