New report highlights the lack of competent tech talent in Norway

Christoffer engstrom tjgu Vu0 Go EM unsplash
Photo: Christoffer Engstrom / Unsplash

Published by Oslo Business Region, 15 February 2023

There is a severe lack of competence in the Norwegian workforce. The Norwegian industry needs to attract more international talent if we are to compete internationally and succeed with the digital transition and the green shift, says a new report from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).

Oslo companies need more skilled labour than other regions

Yesterday, 15 Feb 2023, NHO presented their annual “Competence barometer” (NHOs kompetansebarometer in Norwegian) tracking the need for skilled labour and competence of their 30.000 + membership companies.

The report shows that nearly 2/3 of the Norwegian industry is lacking the competence they need and there is a great demand for highly educated talent. Oslo based companies rank high on the list of needing skilled workers, with 70% of the members reporting a lack of competence.

There is a need for highly educated tech talent

The trade associations reporting the highest need for competence, are: the Federation of Norwegian Transport Enterprises (82%), the Federation of Norwegian Construction Industries (70%), Nelfo - the trade association for electro, it, ecom, system integrators (69%), the Federation of Norwegian Industries (69%), the Norwegian Seafood Federation (69%), and Abelia - the business association of Norwegian knowledge and technology based enterprises (69%).

The tech-heavy associations like Abelia and Energy Norway report that the competence they need requires almost 70% of the workers needed to have completed a masters degree. The competence needed is mainly within IT and engineering, as well as legal subjects, economics and administration.

Companies are actively recruiting competense, but few look to international talent

Another key takeaway from the report, is that the 48% of the companies have actively recruited for a specific competence or expertise without being able to fill the position. They are usually forced to either not fill the position at all or hire someone with a lower competence level than expected.

The fill the competence gap, most companies either try to raise the competence level of their current employees through further education or turn to the Norwegian workforce to recruit. The companies are apprehensive to recruit internationally, and only 35% report this as a strategy.

What does this mean for Oslo based startups and scaleups?

These fresh numbers from the Norwegian industry mirror a lot of the same challenges we see for Oslo based startups and scaleups. They lack the skilled workers needed to scale their business, and the competition for these workers between companies, cities and countries is fierce. Many businesses aim to recruit talent from abroad. Oslo is fairly unknown, and to get a strong position globally we need to collaborate. Access and retention of talent are key challenges for economic development and growth for Oslo.


How we support the startup and scaleup ecosystem in Oslo

Oslo Business Region collaborate with industry clusters, public organizations and growth companies to attract and retain international skilled workers and talent mainly within tech and IT.

We will launch new talent attraction and retention initiatives for startups and scaleups in Oslo during 2023. Sign up to our newsletter to learn more.