Faced with an acute skills shortage, European businesses need to look beyond traditional talent hubs

LONDON, 25 April 2022 – According to Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR), three cities in the Nordics: Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen are top European hotspots for businesses to recruit highly skilled talent. The top 10 cities also include Berlin, Hamburg, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, and Amsterdam. London, often known as Europe’s tech hub, was ranked 19th — largely due to stringent immigration rules post-Brexit.

In a new report, Navigating The Leading Skill Clusters Across Europe, Forrester ranks 50 cities to help tech and business leaders establish where to source the skills needed for the future. The focus on digital transformation efforts, an aging population, increasing automation, and continued pandemic-related disruptions have created a skills gap in Europe. To drive sustainable growth and prepare for the future of work, European businesses need skills including digital and technology prowess, critical thinking, and resilience.

Key findings include:

  • Europe’s heterogeneous skill landscape is led by the North and West. Top ranked cities like Helsinki and Berlin offer a highly educated and diverse workforce with above average language skills and a business-friendly regulatory framework.
  • Post-Brexit regulatory hurdles prevent UK-based cities from being ranked a leading skill cluster in Europe. Post-Brexit, the movement of labour in UK is restricted, resulting in London, Manchester, and Birmingham sliding in rankings.
  • Knowing where Europe’s top talent is helps businesses prepare for hybrid and anywhere work. Forrester expects that 30-40% of employees will work in some form of anywhere-work setting. Business leaders, therefore, need employees to have the skills required to succeed in hybrid working environments.
  • Employees need to be hired on their ability and desire for learning. Employers should consider hiring employees on their potential rather than just existing skill sets. The top skill clusters offer the highest basis of motivated employees.

“The focus on green and digital revolution coupled with the socio-economic changes have created a noticeable skills gap in Europe, which can be debilitating for business growth,” said Dan Bieler, principal analyst at Forrester. “To prepare for the future of work, European businesses need to hire talent adept at both technical and soft skills. The Nordics region is teeming with precisely this kind of talent. Recruiting talent from emerging hubs like the Nordics will allow European businesses to accelerate digital transformation efforts and drive long-term business growth.”


To access this research or arrange an interview with a Forrester analyst, please contact press@forrester.com.