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Life of SAP Consultants in Germany & Sweden

When people are considering a move abroad it is vital to do the research before deciding where you want to relocate. There are different employment laws and culture in every country. Even if you relocate within Europe you can still see and feel a big difference in what is acceptable and what isn’t.

SAP consultant roles are plentiful in both DACH and Nordic regions, therefore we have explored how the work & culture in Germany and Sweden differs.

Life in Germany

Germany, a founding member of the European Union, is the ninth most visited country in the world and it has one of the biggest economies. “The country of poets and thinkers” is another name given to Germany due to its worldwide-known festivities; culture of art, music and science; beautiful landscapes and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Whether you’re a newly qualified graduate or an experienced SAP Consultant who is looking for an exciting new challenge, you should consider relocating to Germany. Let’s have a look at what is so great about living there, aside from its famed beer and sausages.

Work – Life Balance
  • The unemployment rate in Germany is lower than in other G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States). That’s not a happy coincidence. Germans work fewer hours than in the UK and on top of that the minimum annual holiday entitlement is typically around 30 days.
  • One of the reasons the economy is booming in Germany is the high salaries – on average net salary is around 2000 – 2500 euros per month and the minimum wage is the highest in the world – 8,84 euros per hour.
    • Hourly rates for experienced freelance SAP consultants are usually €100 – €150 (equiv. £82 – £132) per hour and for SAP Leads or Architects it ranks around €150 – €200 (equiv. £132 – £177) per hour. Experienced permanent consultants usually earn around €90,000 – €125,000 (equiv. £80,000 – £110,000) per year, whilst more senior SAP consultants in Germany have an annual salary of around €125,000 – €175,000 (equiv. £80,000 – £155,000). There are always plenty of permanent opportunities for SAP consultants with in-depth knowledge of the latest technologies.
  • An early start is very popular within the German culture, with some employees choosing to start work as early as 6.30am and leave the office at 3pm, which allows them to enjoy the sun in the summer. Additionally, employees are expected to leave on time, as staying after working hours is not seen as hard-working but more as bad time management and planning.
  • When it comes to medical care, Germany has one of the best healthcare services in the world. By law everyone is required to have medical insurance, even if you’re unemployed or unable to work. On top of that many German employers offer to cover half of the costs for public medical insurance to their employees.
  • Many German companies also offer different benefits to show their appreciation to their employees. Sometimes, this means partially sponsoring a public transportation card or a gym pass. Other times this could be free quarterly massages and free breakfasts or lunches. Companies are always trying hard to attract and retain the best employees possible.

These are just a few examples of why Germany is a great country to work in. Now, let’s have a look at life in Sweden.

Life in Sweden

Sweden is an excellent place for job opportunities and career progression for almost every line of work, but especially for professionals working within the Technology sector. The country is famous for its technological breakthroughs and innovations (e.g. Spotify, Pacemaker, Digital Healthcare). Therefore, it is not surprising that Sweden is a very popular destination for SAP consultants.

Being a socialist country, Sweden has some amazing benefits for workers, citizens, and foreigners. So, if you are a SAP consultant and thinking about your next move, see below for reasons why you should consider Sweden.

Work – Life Balance
  • Just like other highly developed European nations, Sweden does not have an official minimum salary. Minimum salaries are generally negotiated through the workers’ unions. However, the average salary in Sweden is currently around 22.000 SEK after taxes which equals to approx. 1800 pounds.
    • The average gross salary for SAP Consulting in Sweden is SEK 647,500 (equiv. £53,000) and the average NET salary is SEK 421,500 (equiv. £35,000). The most frequent gross salary is SEK 920 000 (equiv. £75000).
  • Workers’ rights and equality are the foundations of the modern Swedish labour market. Labour unions are powerful and collective bargaining has meant the development of an environment where the health and safety of employees come first. In addition to union support, a government agency, the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket), ensures employees’ well-being at work.
  • Normal working hours in Sweden are 40 hours a week with an upper limit of 48 hours, however, nowadays more and more Swedes are used to working from home. Generally, employees go home around 5pm and do not like being disrupted once home. Similar to Germany working overtime is neither valued nor seen as necessary, in fact it is more of an indication of poor planning and time management. Normal holiday allowance is around five weeks a year plus Bank Holidays.
  • High taxes but with visible rewards – taxes in Sweden are higher than in other countries globally, but you see the perks – healthcare, education, pension and other benefits. Money in, money out. Of course, no-one likes to pay tax, but at least you get what you paid for:
    • Healthcare is mainly free, only having to pay small amount for certain services
    • Childcare and education from nurseries to universities are free
    • Progressive state pension system: the more you earn, the higher your final pension will be. The retirement age is also flexible, you can start drawing on it from the age of 61, with no fixed upper limit, but the longer you wait to draw your pension, the higher it will be.
    • In case of unemployment, most individuals receive 80 per cent of their previous salary for the first 200 days of inactivity – up to 680 kronor (£53) a day – dropping to 70 per cent for the next 100 days.
  • Relaxed atmosphere – Swedish companies tend to be less hierarchical than companies in many other countries when it comes to internal organisation, which means that a managing director is more openly available to all employees. Colleagues address each other in a casual way. From the classroom all the way to the boardroom, titles like ‘Mrs’ or ‘Dr’ are things of the past. Students and teachers, patients and doctors, employees and employers – everyone is on a first-name basis. Work clothing is often conservative, but casual. Additionally, Swedish workers tend to rely heavily on compromise and consensus when it comes to making decisions and reaching solutions. It’s generally felt to be much better if policies and ideas are discussed openly and across all levels before any conclusion is reached.

In conclusion I would say work-life balance in both Sweden and Germany are really good and are worth considering for a move. Here at Cavendish Professionals we recruit SAP consultants internationally; Germany, Sweden including Spain and France. If you are looking for talented SAP consultants to join your company or if you are a SAP consultant looking for an opportunity in either within Europe or further afield, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us – technology team.