The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) says companies need to recruit more expertise

Kristin Skogen LundManaging Director Kristin Skogen Lund in NHO.Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

The decline has reversed. Norwegian companies need greater and greater expertise, especially among engineers, and people with a vocational background, according to NHO.


Three out of five NHO companies have a need to recruit more skilled and specialist employees, showed the latest NHO ‘competence barometer’, which was presented on Monday.

A total of 5,557 companies participated in the fourth survey of its kind. Compared to last year, competence requirements have increased by 7%. This may be due to the fact that companies look more optimistically at the future since the oil price drop, believes NHO director, Kristin Skogen Lund.

‘Several industries are now experiencing growth and brighter prospects. This means that more of them need new people, and new skills’, she told NTB news agency.


At the same time, Skogen Lund believes that there is a gap between supply and demand for expertise,. Growth is one of the explanations, another is that many companies are in a conversion phase, and need different competencies as they adapt to new products, services and markets.

‘A third explanation is that some don’t have the skills they need. It is serious, and we depend on closer interaction between education and business. This is becoming more and more important as the rate of change in businesses increases,’ said the
NHO director.

The barometer shows that the lack of expertise has had serious consequences for a number of companies. Four out of ten indicate that they’ve lost customers or market shares, while almost as many said they’ve shelved or postponed expansion of the business. One in five companies have had to reduce the businesses capacity due to a lack of appropriate competence.

Need for engineers and skilled workers

Craftspersons are at the top of the list when NHO member companies anticipate their future skill-set requirements. The barometer showed that over 50% of the surveyed companies need people with vocational education from upper secondary school, or university graduates in sciences, crafts, and technical subjects.

Engineers and technicians followed. 46% of companies stated that they will, to a greater or lesser degree, need employees with an education in engineering, especially electrical, construction, and mechanical engineers. This is an increase over the previous two years of 17% (2016) and 19% (2015) respectively.

‘The companies also say that digitalisation, and automation, will make it even more important to have a specialist education,’said Skogen Lund.

Differences between industries

There is a difference between industries in terms of education needs. Seven out of ten companies within the Norwegian oil and gas federations, Energy Norway, and Abelia, said they need more employees with a master’s degree.

On the other hand, companies have little need for people who are educated in humanities and aesthetics, or health and sports, according to the barometer.

‘More need to gain knowledge of all the possibilities that vocational subjects provide, and we must have effective apprenticeship clauses in public tenders. We also need a technology boost throughout the education system,’ said Skogen Lund.

Six out of ten companies in the survey said that it may be appropriate to increase the skills of the company by facilitating staff members taking professional letters, or successfully completing an official apprenticeship qualification in a building trade or craft.



© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today