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Exploring the Tech Skills Shortage in Sweden

24 Jul 13:00 by Ieshia Thaper

People working at a computer

Exploring the Tech Skills Shortage in Sweden

 

The largest and most influential of the Nordic countries is struggling to find the tech talent it needs. 

Sweden is an idyllic place to live and work. Great public services, beautiful landscapes, and a thriving cultural scene. Why then, is the country struggling to access top talent in tech? Research compiled by Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) highlighted ICT as a key area of talent shortage for the country. While a report produced by the Swedish IT & Telecom Industries predicts they will face a deficit of 70,000 skilled workers by 2022. Digital hubs like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö are beginning to feel the squeeze as their booming start-up population struggles to fill key positions. However, opportunities emerging from these shortages are opening up as Sweden becomes a key growth geography for international digital talent. 

We took a closer look at the growing tech crisis and what it means for the industry as a whole. 

Demographics are fueling the talent shortage

The Swedish tech skills shortage is in many ways an issue of numbers. Like many of their European neighbours, Sweden has a rapidly aging population – by 2040 every fourth person there will be 65 or over. This coupled with a low birth rate means there will simply not be a large enough working population to fulfil the nation’s talent needs. 

Bureaucracy is a barrier to international talent

The ongoing shortage of tech talent in Sweden means that employers are increasingly looking beyond borders to find the people they need. But the demand for international talent is being hampered by high levels of red tape for both employers and potential employees. In fact, the problem got so acute in 2016 that the co-founders of Spotify published an open letter to the Swedish government, threatening to move jobs out of the country unless reforms were made. 

What tech skills are in demand? 

A better question may be, which skills aren’t in demand? The Cedefop report highlights ICT architects, ICT testers, test analysts, software and systems engineers, and developers as some of the most-wanted specialisms. They are also suffering from a shortage of both graduate and experienced candidates. This is reflected in the current research figures and in the anecdotal evidence we hear from our clients. 

The digital sector is vital to the Swedish Economy, accounting for 42% of all production growth between 2005 and 2013. This means both the government and wider tech industry need to work together to overcome the challenges the sector is facing – ensuring that digital innovation in Sweden continues to flourish. For those candidates with sought-after skill sets this represents an opportunity to take their career in a new direction. Perhaps it’s time to look north for your next job move?