Large shortage of ICT competence in Norway

4,700 new employees could have been hired by an Abelia member during 2023, but the companies were unable to find them.
Published on
April 5, 2024

4,700 new employees could have been hired by an Abelia member during 2023, but the companies were unable to find them.

This is revealed by NHO's Competence Barometer launched this month. 62 percent of NHO member companies say they have (to some extent or to a large extent) an unmet competence need, and among Abelia's members, 65 percent report the same.

"Qualified labour shortages has negative consequences for the company in question, but also for the development of the business sector," says Abelia's CEO Øystein Søreide.

Nearly six out of ten of Abelia's members state that a shortage of competence has forced them to postpone or abandon the development of their business. Over four out of ten have experienced losing customers or market shares. Close to two out of ten have had to reduce their operations.

Developing Own Employees

The most important measure to meet competence needs is to invest in their own employees.

To address the competence shortage, the majority of Abelia's members respond that they enhance the skills of existing employees (93 percent) or hire individuals already in the Norwegian job market (83 percent). Half of them choose to outsource services to others, meaning that some of the services that could have been produced in Norway are produced in other countries.

Regarding skills enhancement, Abelia's members stand out from the rest of the business sector by emphasizing the importance of informal and non-formal skills development relative to formal education. Among Abelia's members, there are also far more who state that employees take the initiative and find training or educational opportunities. Abelia's members also differ from the rest of the business sector in having less of a challenge related to employees not wanting to participate in skills enhancement initiatives. Among Abelia's members, 27 percent respond that this is a challenge, while for NHO as a whole, the proportion is 41 percent.

Continuing and Further Education is becoming increasingly important, and the offerings must be tailored to the needs of the business sector and employees. This requires closer collaboration between educational institutions and the business sector. Furthermore, about one in three say it is difficult to take employees out of work for skills enhancement or that it costs too much for the company.

Foreign Labor

There is also a significant proportion, 28 percent, of Abelia's members who choose to hire individuals from abroad to meet their unmet competence needs. A quarter of Abelia's members say they would hire more from abroad if it were easier to obtain residence and work permits for them. Almost eight out of ten among Abelia's members respond that access to competence from abroad is a strength for the company. In comparison, six out of ten say the same among NHO's members as a whole.

High Demand for ICT Competence

ICT is the field with the greatest need among Abelia's members, but it is also an area with high demand across various industries. In addition to a significant unmet need for ICT among Abelia's members, about three out of ten have an unmet need in engineering and technical fields, social sciences, legal fields, economic and administrative fields, and information and communication fields.

Regarding educational level, Abelia's members primarily need individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree. Compared to the rest of the business sector, Abelia's members stand out with a much lower need to recruit individuals with vocational education and a higher need for individuals with a doctorate.

Companies referred IN ARTICLE: