– Across the country we have problems with skills supply, but in Norrbotten, and especially in the smaller municipalities, the challenges are even more severe, especially in certain occupations. A large part of today's labor retires and it is hard to recruit people from outside the county, says Thomas Ejdemo, PhD student in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology.
In the report, produced in cooperation with Region Norrbotten and the County Administrative Board, researchers from Luleå University of Technology have examined the recruitment challenges and possible solutions. If current trends persist, 51,000 new employment positions will need to be filled in the county by 2030. During the period 2015-2030, 44,000 people will retire, of whom 6000 are employed in industry. Within the health care and the education sector, up to half of the employees will retire during the same period.
– Looking at the numbers at an occupational level, we see clear trends linked to change processes such as digitalization and automation. Process operators have negative employment trends, not because of the decline of industry, but linked to technological developments. However, the need for skilled technicians and engineer´s increases, as maintainance needs increase, says Thomas Ejdemo.
Attractiveness is crucial
Good conditions for continuous competence development and attractiveness are key themes that recurs in the interviews that Karolina Parding, professor of Human Work Science, has carried out with people responsible for skills management within the health care sector as well as within the industry in Norrbotten. It is essential to work even harder on creating a county that is attractive to live and tor work in, including identifying and implementing strategies for attracting staff and retaining them in those hard to staff sectors and occupation, she says.
– Employers who see continuous competence development, in its various forms, as an investment and not as a cost will have a head start, as they will be more likely to keep their staff, but also attract new ones. When employees are given the opportunity to switch up, the employer is not equally dependent on the employees having exactly the right competence from the beginning. There are good examples, however this strategy would need to be seen in a larger scale.
In addition, gender equality is a key aspect of creating an attractive region, says Karolina Parding.
– In all sectors there are challenges linked to equal career paths and working conditions. We also know that young women move from the county to a greater extent than young men, and that women generally choose other occupational paths than men. If we want to keep them in the county, we may need to revise what educational paths we offer, and certainly the conditions in working life, she says.
Better planning in the region
The results of the study are requested by those who work with skills development in the county. The awareness already exists that large number of retirements will be made in many sectors, but the detailed analysis of the demographics at the occupational level provide a better basis for further work, says Karolina Parding.
–It is important to keep in mind a county perspective, and even better processes for coordination and collaboration between key actors in order to ensure the supply of skilled employable individuals. We hope that the report gives input to the regional strategic work.