Hire in Iceland

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Overview of Iceland

Population:  343,441 (June 2021)

GDP: 24.16 Billion U.S. dollars (FY 21)

Economic Overview:

As the Icelandic economy is greatly dependent on tourism, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption causing a negative growth balance of 6.6% in 2020. Currently, the situation has stabilized to some extent, and household consumption has increased, which helps to improve the economy. According to the International Monetary Fund's forecast, the GDP growth is expected to resume in 2021, up to 3.7%, and stabilize in 2022 at3.6%.  Export business is expected to increase in the coming months, while foreign tourism will take longer to recover.

Market Size:

The job market in Iceland is quite enriched. The service sector is relatively stable and employs more than 80% of the workforce. The pandemic has slightly increased the unemployment rate, which will stabilize with the resume of businesses. Iceland is among the countries that have to import thousands of foreign workers to meet the business requirements.  

A brief glimpse of industries:

  • Iceland's economy partially relies on its renewable natural resources; related industries that contribute a lot are deep sea fishing, hydraulic and geothermal power, and pastures. Fishing is one of the vital ones covering around 40% of exports.
  • TheIcelandic government aims to improve agribusiness and food processing; multiple policies and training programs are introduced to enhance the job options.
  • The service sector is the strong pillar of Iceland's economy; tourism, software production and biotechnology are the main industries under the service sector. A range of commercial banking services is also available in Iceland. Moreover, Iceland has become the rear-base of several computers and software companies.
  • Multiple call centers offer efficient customer support services to the world and are also located in the country. Numbers of freshers have job opportunities in call centers.
  • The average fixed broadband internet speed in Kosovo is 100 Mbps. Here people can even1Gbps internet speed through full-fiber networks, and about 82% of citizens have this facility.

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Cost of living in Iceland

The nation is one of the most expensive places to live in — it ranks 4th on the list of the world’s expensive countries. Even though house rent is quite high in this nation, only a few European countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Ireland have higher house rent than Iceland. A decent lifestyle in Iceland, including food, utilities, food, health care, mobility, housing, education, and participation in society, needs more than $ 3500 per month. The following table shows a breakdown of the average living cost in Iceland.

Average Living Cost in Iceland

Category Area of Expense Estimated Monthly Cost (USD)
Rental Monthly rent for a 3 bedroom apartment in City Center $ 2,235.39
Rental Monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in City Center $ 1,471.76
Food and beverage Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $ 20.13
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $ 9.66
Milk (1 Liter) $ 1.39
Transport costs Monthly ticket public transport $ 103.07
Utilities including water, cooling, heating, and garbage services $ 117.99
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $ 69.71
Personal care Membership at a fitness club $ 61.39

Cost of renting

Getting an affordable house is one of the main challenges of living here in Iceland. High-cost accommodation increases the overall living cost in Iceland. There is a huge difference between the house in City Center and outside the center. The monthly rent for a furnished studio in an expensive area of Iceland is more than $ 1,660, whereas, outside the city center, it costs around $ 1,400. The following table represents the city-wise living cost in Iceland.

Your cost of living in Iceland depends on your location

Name of the Cities Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) Cost of Living without rent /person Rent
Reykjavík $ 3,399 $ 1,285.85 $ 1,402 - 1,632
Kópavogur $ 4080 $ 1240.89 $ 1368 – 1570
Hafnarfjörður $ 4300 $ 1307.77 $ 1463 – 1744
Akureyri $ 3508 $ 989.98 $ 771 – 966
Selfoss $ 2,355.26 $ 1010.87 $ 965 – 1,248
Egilsstadir $ 2,818 $ 1103.35 $ 825.35 – 967

The top sectors that are expected to hire in Iceland in 2021

Though tourism is one of the vital industries of Iceland and needs time to pick up pace due to travel restrictions throughout the world, the government has taken some temporary policies to invigorate the economy. As the global market has started to improve, the nation's investment sector and export business regain vitality— the job market also revives as the companies have started recruiting.

S.No Industries Employment by sector (in % of Total Employment) Value Added (in % of GDP) Value Added (Annual % Change)
1 Agriculture 3.8 4.3 17.0
2 Industry (fishing, food processing, hydraulic and geothermal power and pastures) 16.1 19.4 1.1
3 Services (tourism, software production, biotechnology, transport, and computer hardware) 80.1 65.5 1.0

Top Skills in Iceland

Iceland has an elaborated as well as a dynamic job market. Plenty of job opportunities are available here – every year, the country needs to import roughly 2,000 foreign workers to meet the workforce requirement.

There are multiple job opportunities available for fresher graduates in the construction, healthcare, Information technology, and tourism sector.

The significant Industries hiring inIceland are:

  • Aluminiumsmelting
  • Fish processing
  •  Geo thermal power
  • Hydropower
  • Medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Tourism

Fluency in English is a valuable skill inIceland as language proficiency makes you valuable in the hospitality industry;hotels, restaurants, and/or bars are the leading recruiters to support the demands of tourism growth.  

Top Skills City-wise Occupation-wise

Reykjavík is not only the nation’s capital but a popular tourist spot. A huge number of English-speaking jobs are available here. Freshers to experienced professionals, Reykjavík offers job opportunities to everyone with appropriate skill sets. Multiple companies have their headquarters in this city and offering employment options in industries like:

  • Computer hardware and software
  • Tourism
  • Retail
  • Commercial vehicles & trucks
  • Alternative energy
  •  Biotechnology
  • Food &beverage
  • Marine transportation
  • Banks
  • Industrial transportation
  • Telecommunication

Akureyri is another popular tourist spot inIceland and one of the biggest fish industry hubs. The city offers job opportunities in food processing, the hospitality industry (hotels, motels,& resorts), Biotech and pharmaceuticals, and accounting.

Kópavogur offers a plethora of job options to fresh graduates as well as professionals in industries like computer hardware and software, IT services, enterprise software & network solutions, and so on. The tourism business is also developed in this town and employs people in hotels, motels, and resorts.

Keflavík is also a city of Iceland enriched with job opportunities in metal and mineral manufacturing, household commodity manufacturing, industrial manufacturing, Airline, banks and credit unions, and networking solution industries.      


Hiring cost is a vital one for organizations planning to start or expand businesses. Cost per hire is accumulative sum of all the costs associated with filling a position, such as advertising expenses, recruiting events costs (interviewing and screening),onboarding cost, training cost, travel costs, administrative costs, and benefits. It is essential to have a clear idea of living costs in the city and other expenses and availability of the required talent to calculate the compensation of an employee.

Salary structure for various roles in Iceland

The following table represents the average monthly salary of different sectors in Iceland.

Working Area Average salary depending on the role (ISK)
Accounting and Finance (Chartered Accountant) ISK 600,000
Administration / Reception / Secretarial (Office Manager) ISK 579,000
Advertising / Graphic Design / Events (Graphic Designer) ISK 408,000
Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense (Aerospace Engineer) ISK 818,000
Architecture (Architect) ISK 752,000
Automotive (Mechanic) ISK 254,000
Banking (Bank Branch Manager) ISK 1,110,000
Bilingual (Teacher) ISK 509,000
Business Planning (Business Analyst) ISK 824,000
Construction / Building / Installation (Construction Project Manager) ISK 1,030,000
Customer Service (Customer Service Manager) ISK 902,000
Engineering (Electrical Engineer) ISK 628,000
Food / Hospitality / Tourism / Catering (Hotel Manager) ISK 1,220,000
Health and Medical (Nurse) ISK 499,000
Human Resources (Human Resources Manager) ISK 974,000
Information Technology (Developer / Programmer) ISK 613,000
Law Enforcement / Security / Fire ( police Officer) ISK 408,000
Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertainment (Journalist) ISK 695,000

Employment Laws in Iceland

There are multiple laws and regulations to consider establishing a legitimate employer-employee relationship. Here is a list containing the employment laws in Iceland.

  • WorkingTerms and Pension Rights Insurance Act
  • Act onTemporary Work Agencies
  • Act on theEqual Status and Rights of Women and Men
  • ForeignNationals' Right to Work Act
  • Regulation on Foreign Nationals' Right to Work
  • HolidayAllowance Act
  • Act on then prohibition on Termination of Employment due to Family Responsibilities
  • Act onTrade Unions and Industrial Disputes
  • Act onWorking Environment and Health & Safety in the Workplace
  • IndustrialAct
  • Act onCollective Dismissal
  • Act on theRight of Workers in the Event of Transfer of Undertakings
  • Act onFixed-Term Employment
  • Act onPart-Time Work
  • Pension Act
  • Act onParental Leave
  • Act onUnemployment Insurances
  • Act onInformation and Consultation in Undertakings
  • Act on40-Hour Working Week
  • Act on thePayment of Wages
  • Free Right to Employment and Residence within the European Economic Area Act

How Can Skuad Help You in Hiring in Iceland?

Hiring in Iceland needs a thorough talent hunt plus in-depth knowledge of the employment laws, city-wise living cost analysis, and so on. To make hiring easy, cost-effective, and beneficial for your organization, you can consider Skuad as your employment solution. Skuad can give you freedom from hiring stress, and you can concentrate on your core business. Contact Skuad to know more.

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