The latest NHO ‘competency barometer report’ shows that Norwegian companies are demanding more high-tech and STEM expertise. – There’s a growing competency gap in business that we have to fill, says Tekna President Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg.
Every year, NHO (The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise) uses a ‘competency barometer’ to chart Norwegian companies’ needs in different categories. This year, 41 percent of the surveyed companies have responded that they need employees with a high level of technological competency.
– This confirms our experience that both low-skilled workers and high-tech/STEM competency are highly sought after by Norwegian companies. Norway and the rest of the world are facing enormous challenges where new technology is an important part of meeting those challenges. If Norwegian companies are to remain competitive, we have to maintain the highest level of competency, says Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg in Tekna, which organizes over 87,000 individuals who have a Master’s degree or above in STEM (Science – Technology – Engineering – Math), fields.
In this report three out of four companies respond that there is a need to strengthen employees’ IT skills in their organization. This need also emerges in the studies and sociopolitical analyses undertaken for Tekna and other industrial actors.
– The need is particularly great for higher education and different types of IT expertise. There are high expectations from government, businesses and the general population for digital services and that Norway should take the lead in this area. So we must maintain open and ongoing access to expertise, especially in the highest educational degrees, says Tekna President Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg.
– In the future, having IT skills will be vital, not just for creating growth and jobs but also for ensuring high-quality public services and our national security. So it’s crucial that educational programs are prioritized when looking towards the future, continues Randeberg.
Randeberg thinks that the survey shows that we need to educate a much higher number of students in STEM subjects.
– When the demand in companies is so great that they have to outsource or bring in foreign workers to cover their competency needs, this highlights the necessity of increasing the higher education sector’s capacity to admit students. At the same time, we have to increase investment in employees’ continuing education so they can cover all the competency needs in an industry experiencing rapid technological change, she says.
The barometer also shows that there is a great need for technological competency for the current ‘green shift’. Around 40 percent of companies in the survey respond that they will have a greater need for technological/engineering competency in the future.
– Norwegian companies are ready for change, and technologists are central to the green shift. So educational institutions also have to come onboard and do what’s needed to increase competency in green new areas. Our background from the petroleum industry gives us a solid foundation for leading these changes, an opportunity we have to take advantage of, concludes Randeberg.