Mismatch problems in the Nordic region

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This report finds that recruitment challenges and mismatch problems are hampering economic growth in the Nordic region. The study indicates that the lack of the right labour force in five Nordic growth industries partly results in production restrictions, because in many cases companies must postpone or completely cancel activities, and partly lead to lower productivity, because companies may have to hire employees who are not their first choice skill-wise. The study was carried out on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Main results

The main results of the study are:

  • The biggest recruitment challenges are seen in the ICT and Digital and automated production industries. This applies to Sweden, Denmark and Norway. 25% of recruitment attempts are in vain, which covers the fact that the position has not been filled or occupied by an employee who does not fully cover the need.
  • In general, recruitment challenges are greater in Sweden than in Denmark and Norway. Thus, in Sweden, almost 30% of the recruitment attempts are in vain, while the corresponding figure is 25% in Denmark and just under 20% in Norway. Among other things, the difference can be due to differences in the economic situation but may also be related to more structural differences in the match between supply and demand in the three countries.
  • The recruitment challenges have real financial implications for companies. More than one in three indicates that recruitment challenges have led to delayed or cancelled activities. At the same time, this proportion tends to be particularly high in the industries where recruitment challenges are greatest.

The study also points out that the recruitment challenges are partly due to the fact that the labour supply is not large enough (mismatch of volume) and partly that the supply of labour does not always have the right skills (mismatch of content). The companies try to overcome these recruitment challenges through increased international recruitment, including in the Nordic countries, and outsourcing of key tasks.

The study is commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers.


Højbjerre Brauer Schultz (2017): "Mismatchproblemer i Norden".