The Swedish IT sector is facing a significant future skills labor shortage, as it needs approximately 70,000 additional people until 2022. A group of representatives from the Swedish IT industry has now published a joint opinion piece urging the Swedish government to act.
The opinion piece was published on the Swedish tech site Breakit, and aims to ensure that Sweden does not lose its competitive advantage within the IT industry due to a competence deficit. Moreover, the opinion piece is signed by a group of six notable profiles from different facets of the IT sector.
Those keeping tabs on blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency market will likely be most familiar with Ivan Liljeqvist; the man behind the Ivan on Tech YouTube channel, which is dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
However, the initiative is also notably backed by Joacim Damgard, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Microsoft CEE.
In addition to this, the article is also underwritten by Maria Rankka (CEO of Brunswick Sweden), Lars Kry (CEO of Sigma IT Consulting), Beatrice Silow (Vice President of Communication and Culture at Sigma IT Consulting), and Fredrik von Essen (IT & Telecommunications Industry Policy Expert).
The article starts by highlighting how Sweden has traditionally been at the forefront of digitalization, through early adoption of home computers, broadband, and cellular data.
The piece then goes on to congratulate Anders Ygeman, who was appointed the Swedish Minister for Energy and Minister for Digitization last month, to his job – and implores Ygeman to ensure that the government cooperates with the business sector.
Moreover, the group warns that Sweden’s traditional role at the vanguard of digitalization should not be taken for granted. Furthermore, whilst other countries are investing heavily in digitization, Sweden is virtually at a standstill.
Specifically, the article states that the IT labor shortage issue Sweden faces is three-pronged. First and foremost, too few young people choose to enter the IT industry. Secondly, not enough women are being recruited. Lastly, Sweden does not successfully retain and employ the IT competence brought by immigration.
As such, the group has outlined a manifest of concrete measures, spread over three areas, intended to narrow the competence gap and widen the recruitment base for the Swedish IT industry.
The first of these three is dubbed #UpgradeSweden, and focuses on establishing a platform (dubbed a ”meeting point”) which facilitates the sharing of knowledge, financially entices people to pursue an IT education, and compiles existing educations.
The second strategy is called #WelcomeWoman, and intends to create and mediate contact between women and tech companies. This will also be supported by inspirational efforts at high schools and technical institutes, aimed at reducing dropouts.
Finally, the third strategy concerns retaining IT competencies resulting from immigration. This includes introducing a company checklist, which simplifies error-free recruitment and employment for firms.
The group is inviting the industry, along with the Swedish government to join in the discourse of finding viable solutions to ensure that Sweden’s IT industry does not face a workforce deficit in the coming years.
Nevertheless, the opinion piece also highlights that taking concrete action from a governmental standpoint is vital in order to retain Sweden’s competitiveness within the IT sector.
The Swedish campaign website www.70000jobb.nu allows both companies and private citizens to join in the group’s call to action, as well as to read more about the manifest.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.