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InHunt World is a Global Headhunting Network that is currently active in over 40 countries. During this autumn, we are going to go through these countries one by one, usually interviewing the Country Manager or the CEO of the country in question.

Today we are in Norway, luckily one of the countries where the Covid crisis did not leave too many consequences. Each country decided to go with a different method in order to reduce the effects of the pandemic.

Norway’s economic downturn remained limited in 2020 compared to most European countries as softer measures against Covid-19 partially offset a global decline in oil and gas prices – Norway’s main exports. The Norwegian economy was projected to decline by -0.8% in 2020 (1.6% according to the Norwegian government), before rebounding by 3.9% in 2021 and predicted to grow 4% in 2022. According to Statistics Norway, seasonally-adjusted GDP declined by just 0.9% in November 2020 in mainland Norway (dissociated from the oil and gas industry) (source).

Norway is a rich country, with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world. The country also scores at the top of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index ranking. Unemployment had gradually declined from its peak in 2016 until the start of the pandemic; however, reduced activity in the hospitality sector, in particular, halted this trend. The unemployment rate was estimated to rise to 4.6% in 2020 but is projected to edge down to 4.3% in 2021, before falling further to 4% in 2022.

The downturn and recovery of the Norwegian economy were quicker than most other European countries in 2020. The country was quickly hit by a sharp decline in oil and gas prices, with the Norwegian krone hitting a 40-year low in March 2020. Norway in April 2020 decided to cut its short-term oil production in an effort to lift global oil prices. Economic recovery started as early as June as the first wave of the pandemic died down much sooner than most of Europe. Norway’s government gross debt did not expand in 2020 unlike in the rest of Europe despite public monetary support and a comprehensive loan program to the banks.

Headhunting and Recruitment Market in Norway

The headhunting and recruitment market has been very active in Norway since autumn 2020. Some months have been obviously a bit quieter, however the general trend has been positive in the last 12 months. (source)

In Norway in 2020, the headhunting market size was slightly over 191 million €, and there are about 210 companies that officially have headhunting services in their service portfolio. Many of these companies are just run by one or two people. The biggest headhunting companies in Norway have a turnover of between 11 and 15 M € annually.

Next, we are going to interview the Managing Director of Lederhagen, Mr. Filip Skogstad. Filip founded Lederhagen in Oct 2014, even if this is not his first successful recruitment endeavor. Filip will give us his point of view on how he sees the headhunting and recruitment market in Norway.

How is everything Filip? Thank you for being with us today. First, how are you and how was the summer?

Thank you for asking. I’m doing well and things are good, just had my second covid-19 shot and now we are enjoying the city going back to normal again, slowly of course, but definitely in good progress. The summer was fantastic this year, with high temperatures both in the cities and on the coast, lots of sun and no rains or cold winds. The Norwegian summer usually offers all kinds of weather, but this year was as good as it can be.

How would you comment on the first half of 2021?

Except for a few industries, we have seen that Norwegian companies haven’t been that affected as much as other European markets. Of course, many of us got our weekdays turned upside down last year, with limited access to meet and travel, closed schools forcing children to stay home with parents, with online meetings all day long. But the economy, in general, has not been too negatively affected for most of us.

In fact, many Norwegian industries had actually their best year ever in 2020. With low infection rates, and an overall feeling that things are going back to normal, candidates also feel more confident to make a job change, boosting the job market even more energetically.

Representing InHunt World for Norway, we’ve had a fantastic first semester, this autumn we also started with a large number of requests. Our client base consists of new and old customers, all looking for the best available candidates, with specific know-how and specific managerial skills.

How do you see the second part of 2021? And what about 2022?

I am sure that Norwegians, like all others, are longing for the complete full re-opening of the country and borders, with no limitations for traveling and in-person meetings. However, there are a lot of differences in our long-stretched country, some small cities haven’t been affected at all compared to larger ones. Some industries even experienced an increase in demand due to the pandemic, this will perhaps slowly go back to normal with time.

What everybody is talking about is how this “new normal” is going to affect our habits and perhaps change our behaviors for the long term. Maybe we’ve gotten more effective with less travel and shorter meetings, but we may have gotten more ineffective in other areas by not meeting in person.

All in all, and I speak for myself, I am really looking forward to this autumn and the start of 2022. There is great optimism in the market, both domestic and international. Many company owners tell me that they are expanding and looking for new competencies in the times to come. The need for specific new competencies is so high that it will demand a very careful recruiting strategy and the use of experienced headhunters in order to make this expansion effective.

What are the industries that are hiring the most?

Right now, there is a great demand for competence and managerial experience within healthcare-related industries, software and technology, retail and FMCG, real estate, transportation and shipping, green economies, renewables and sustainability.

Engineering and some financial services are maybe not growing as fast, but at least hold onto their positions. Requests from the defense industry and new markets from the oil and gas services have also grown. For many years there has been a decrease in the industrial manufacturing sector, but innovation and growing demand for next-generation batteries and renewable energies are pushing the sector forward once more. Perhaps this is one of the novelties for the upcoming years, definitely an area to keep our eyes on in the near future.

What are the roles that companies are needing the most?

In general, I would say that competence within health, tech and renewables is in high demand, on all levels. As far as we are concerned, I would say that one of the biggest tasks is to find appropriate managerial competence within fields that are not yet, so well established in Norway.

We often must look to other countries to find the right skill sets. From now on, and for the foreseeable future, we will be looking for managers that not only have specific industry experience with great results but also have clear knowledge and know-how on how to manage diversity. Diversity management consists of both cultural intelligence, the understanding of how to get the best out of each team member, being able to think differently as a team compared to your competitors, leading great innovation projects and being an attractive employer.

What about the candidate market?

Norway is rated as one of the best countries to live in, but it is also a country which is very expensive, has a language which you cannot use anywhere else and we have a winter that most Europeans don’t find very attractive. It is therefore not so easy to go abroad to find the right competence and moving them to Norway. This means that there will always be a lack of skilled professionals and a high demand for a workforce as long as the wheels keep on turning.

Luckily the Norwegian universities are agile and forward-thinking in terms of offering the right studies for the future. School and University institutions score higher and higher in international rankings among other relevant international universities. But I would say, especially as long as the oil and gas industries are still going on a high level, there will be a lack of people in all sectors and at all levels.

To find, attract and hire experienced, top-performing business leaders with a proven track record will be a really challenging game for the years to come, for skilled professionals.

What would you say are the top reasons companies choose to work with Lederhagen over some other players in the market?

By choosing to work with Lederhagen you will get direct access to our network which we are very proud of. It is a result of many years of creating a deep trust in the market and professionalism in our field of expertise. We are the first headhunter agency worldwide to be internationally accredited and certified within diversity management.

We are continuously seeking to develop new recruitment standards that help our clients in growing a diverse and competitive workforce. In our belief that an outstanding process will provide long-lasting results, clients and candidates will always come back to us and lead us to exciting new assignments. This has been our way of work for many years and it certainly gives us a good market situation.

Thank you for your time Filip!

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