Tekna is growing at record speed. During ‘the Corona year’ of 2020, the trade union had a membership growth rate of 6.9 percent, according to new numbers from SSB (Statistics Norway).
Tekna has had a strong membership growth rate for several years in a row, and a record number of highly educated STEM professionals chosen to join the organization during ‘the Corona year’ as well. At the start of 2021, Tekna had 86,868 members, 69,000 who are actively employed, according to numbers from SSB (Statistics Norway).
- This past year was a challenging one for many Tekna members, and many of them lived with the uncertainty of layoffs and downsizing. At the same time, it was a good year for us as both a professional association and trade union, where we could really show our relevance. This year was also when new technology truly helped change the way we communicate and work for our members, company representatives and external partners, a development driven forward by our members, says Tekna’s General Secretary Line Henriette Holten.
With its 69,000 actively working members, Tekna has for the first time in recent memory surpassed NITO’s numbers, according to SSB (Statistics Norway).
Holten believes that Tekna’s growth is a result of the actions it’s taken over several years to be relevant to modern day employees; it’s also a result of societal developments, where competency and technology are becoming increasingly important.
- There are more and more people working in professions that require a high level of technical proficiency. NHO’s ‘competency barometer’ shows this new trend, where companies themselves point out that Norway has to increase recruiting in STEM subjects in the future. I also think we’ve been good at adapting to a labor market that’s constantly changing, she says.
She names several areas where Tekna has had to adapt in order to stay relevant for its members.
- First, we aim to provide the best legal services for our members and company representatives. This is especially important during a crisis year like 2020 was, when a lot of people had to face major challenges with regard to work. We’ve been professionally relevant for our members, which can be seen through their record high level of participation at our professional events. We’ve also been a clear political force and influenced societal developments in areas that are important to Tekna members, says Holten.
She also highlights the importance of having market-leading banking and insurance services as well as good student services.
- It’s important to have social and professional meetings places combined with career and skills development for our student members. They’ve been very engaged in getting out the message about how students’ mental health has suffered the past year, lifting this topic up to the highest levels of government. Students also help our renewal by challenging Tekna to adapt to the future labor market. We now have as many as 13,000 student members and are among the largest student organizations in the country, she says.
Tekna is the largest trade union in Akademikerne (The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations) and has 38 percent of its total membership.
- We’ve seen for several years that a growing number of students have been pursuing Master’s degrees, a fact that reflects our society’s need to have citizens with a high level of competency. So there’s a large number of union members who have completed higher education. Akademikerne is growing faster than the other federations and is now bigger than YS (The Confederation of Vocational Unions), says Holten.
She expects continued growth in Tekna and believes that having a highly educated workforce will become even more important in the future.
- If we as a country – along with the rest of the world – are to meet the challenges we’re facing in healthcare, climate, energy and transportation, our members must be central to finding solutions in each of these sectors. And Tekna will help them make this happen, says Holten.