The level of education in Southwest Jutland (the municipalities of Esbjerg, Fanø, Tønder and Varde) is lower than in the rest of the Region of Southern Denmark and the average of the whole country.
The low proportion of highly educated people can have several negative consequences for economic prosperity and welfare in Southwest Jutland. Specifically, it may pose current challenges for employers to recruit highly educated workers. And with the prospect of a declining workforce in the coming decades, the competition for the highly educated workforce is likely to increase in the future.
More generally, a low proportion of highly educated people has negative consequences for economic prosperity and public finances. This is partly because highly educated people on average have higher productivity and a higher employment rate over working life than other educational groups. The relatively low proportion of highly educated people in Southwest Jutland can therefore make prosperity and welfare grow more slowly in Southwest Jutland than most other places in Denmark. And if this development continues, Southwest Jutland will lag further behind in the coming years.
In this report, we examine the socioeconomic consequences of the level of education in Southwest Jutland. Specifically, we take a closer look at the consequences of the relatively low proportion of highly educated people in Southwest Jutland.
Southwest Jutland has an educational challenge
Southwest Jutland is lagging the rest of the Region of Southern Denmark and the rest of the country, and this is happening from an already low level. If this development continues in the coming years, Southwest Jutland will lack many highly educated people.
In addition, most young people leave Southwest Jutland when they must start a master's education. And there is only a small percentage who return after graduation. Therefore, many employers in Southwest Jutland are dependent on being able to attract highly educated people from other parts of the country.
Sizeable economic cost
A low proportion of highly educated people has several negative socioeconomic effects. If Southwest Jutland today had the same proportion of highly educated people as, for example, the national average, it is estimated that employment will be 400-500 full-time employees higher than today. In addition, GDP would be raised by more than DKK 300 million (2018 level) annually and there would be more than DKK 100 million (2018 level) extra into the treasury annually.
There is therefore a significant socioeconomic potential in increasing the proportion of highly educated people in Southwest Jutland.
Difficult to recruit highly educated people in Southwest Jutland
Even today, it is more difficult for employers in Southwest Jutland to recruit highly educated people.
In 2019, 27 per cent of the recruitment attempts for highly educated was in vain in Southwest Jutland. In comparison, the figure was less than 20 per cent in the rest of the Region of Southern Denmark and nationally.
The figures also show that it is particularly difficult for private companies to recruit highly educated people.
The study is commissioned by the Region of Southern Denmark.
Højbjerre Brauer Schultz (2020): "Samfundsøkonomiske konsekvenser af uddannelsesniveauet i Sydvestjylland".