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Alarming shortage of engineers

Norwegian businesses face an alarming demand for engineers and information technology workers. Norway is currently short of 16,000 engineers – more than twice as many as last year.

This time of year Norway’s biggest consulting companies visit universities to recruit graduates for thousands of available jobs.

"There is a big need for civil engineers," Knut Sunde, branch director of the Norwegian Industry, told reporters when the organization presented their economic report last week.

New developments and projects across the country require a large number of engineers. Just out of the companies that deliver products to the oil and gas industry, 92 percent say that they are looking for more civil engineers.

Although the oil and gas industry is expanding, other areas also need to fill new positions, including the public sector. "This is not just an industrial problem, but a problem for our society," Sunde explains.

The short-term effect is that we have to import services and engineers from abroad to meet the industry’s demand. Long term, however, the shortage of qualified workers makes us more and more dependent on the oil, Erik Strøm, Director of the Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (Tekna), told Adresseavisen.

It will limit our ability for new technological advancement outside of the oil sector, Strøm said. "We already have good academic environments and universities, but it’s important that our level of ambition stays high."

Norwegian Industry finds it peculiar that the universities have not yet received any notice from the government to increase their capacity. Sunde tells financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that he is convinced that the pressure and need for more workers will be long lasting.

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