Sweden top-ranked for knowledge-intensive jobs

November 13 2017

The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs, a new report from ECEPR and supported by NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital funds, identifies those areas of Europe that are most popular with ‘brain businesses’ – companies that compete through their brain power and expertise. Sweden tops the list in the study of 28 European countries.

New research aimed at businesses and investors making a strategic choice about where to locate or invest in Europe identifies the countries and cities where the greatest numbers of knowledge workers are to be found. The study, published by the European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship (ECEPR) with support from NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds, ranks European countries according to the number of people working in specialised knowledge-intensive roles, providing a map of hot spots across Europe for ’brain business’ jobs.

The report shows that with 87.1 brain business jobs per 1,000 working-age persons, Sweden ranks top in Europe for its knowledge-intensive working population, well ahead of the second-placed country Denmark (79.1). The Netherlands (77.0) completes the top three in the study, followed by the UK (76.1) and then Luxembourg (70.1). The full report can be found here.

Professor Stefan Fölster, director of the Reform Institute, said the data provided a snapshot of where businesses and investors are most likely to commit resources in the future. “It is important for many market participants – including investors and companies and people evaluating where they want to work and operate – to identify where the talent is and where knowledge-intensive companies are developing,” Professor Fölster said.

“This study shows that these knowledge-intensive areas do not emerge as a direct result of highly educated people living in the area or the previous success of companies in the area. Rather, brain businesses grow in the areas and countries where knowledge-intensive companies see the greatest opportunity for continued development and growth.

Intriguingly, the research highlights two very distinct groups of successful brain business countries that may challenge conventional perceptions about where innovation and competitiveness are most likely to be found in Europe:

  • High-income countries with good macro-economic policies that also invest heavily in their immaterial capital, tend to do well in terms of brain business and are likely to continue to do so, the report found – these include many of the top-ranked countries in the study;
  • “Rookie” countries that have begun pursuing economic policies conducive to entrepreneurship more recently and provide attractive living conditions are also performing strongly, the report shows – these include a number of Eastern and Central European countries where the capital regions in particular are now attracting more brain business jobs.

The report represents a potentially important contribution to the debate over how to shape Europe’s economy, confirming previous studies that have shown a clear link between proportionally higher numbers of knowledge-intensive businesses and strong levels of income and productivity growth. Dr Nima Sanandaji, president of the ECEPR, said the countries identified as business brain hubs were well-placed to continue to prosper, and adaptable enough to move towards new industries and technologies as these emerge.

Dr Sanandaji said: “High and rising standards of living are generated largely through productivity growth that arises due to technological innovations, and through specialisation facilitated by trade; knowledge-intensive industries lie at the heart of both processes.”

Sweden’s competitive edge

Sweden achieved its top ranking with strong performance in all four of the business areas studied: high tech, IT, advanced services and creative professions. In addition, the Swedish capital Stockholm ranks second among capital cities of the countries studied. In the city comparison it is clear that knowledge-intensive jobs are distributed all round Sweden, as the sectoral breakdown is different at the city and country levels.

Scoring: 1-10 scale, with 10 awarded to the country/capital city that ranks highest

Kristoffer Melinder, Managing Partner, NC Advisory AB, which supported the report and is an adviser to Nordic Capital, said the research represented good reason for investors to continue to support Sweden and many of its neighbours. “As an active investor in Europe – particularly in the Nordic region – Nordic Capital’s continuous goal is to develop understanding of the business environment and ways in which it can be improved,” Kristoffer Melinder commented.

“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to support this report, which confirms Nordic Capital’s analysis of the Nordic markets, particularly the Swedish market. Sweden holds a strong position in international comparisons and with continuous initiatives the Nordic region will remain an interesting area for investments,” he continued.

Country rankings
With detailed business sector statistics, the study provides readers with answers regarding where in Europe to set up businesses to draw the most benefit from the various knowledge clusters. They also provide details on where these knowledge-intensive companies will be located in future and where investments in brain business companies will bear fruit.

 

   

Number of brain business jobs per 1,000 working-age persons

1

Sweden

87.1

2

Denmark

79.1

3

Netherlands

77.0

4

UK

76.1

5

Luxembourg

70.1

6

Germany

65.8

7

Norway

64.5

8

Finland

59.8

9

Austria

56.7

10

Estonia

55.1

11

Slovenia

54.4

12

Belgium

52.7

13

France

52.5

14

Czech Republic

51.4

15

Hungary

50.6

16

Malta

47.3

17

Latvia

46.1

18

Slovakia

44.0

19

Lithuania

41.6

20

Portugal

36.6

21

Italy

36.4

22

Cyprus

35.6

23

Spaain

35.1

24

Croatia

35.0

25

Bulgaria

34.3

26

Greece

34.1

27

Poland

30.2

28

Romania

28.8

 

Press Contacts:

Nordic Capital:
Carl Göransson, Public Affairs Manager,
NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Fund
Tel: +46 8 440 5050

Media Contacts UK for Nordic Capital:
Equity Dynamics
Corinna Vere Nicoll 
Tel: +44 7825 326 440

ECEPR:
Dr. Nima Sanandaji, 
President of ECEPR
Tel: +356 7705 0918


About Nordic Capital
Nordic Capital is a leading private equity investor in the Nordic region with a resolute commitment to creating stronger, sustainable businesses through operational improvement and transformative growth. Nordic Capital focuses on selected regions and sectors where it has deep experience and a proven track record. Core sectors are Healthcare, Technology & Payments, Financial Services, Industrial Goods & Services and Consumer & Retail, and key regions are the Nordics, Northern Europe, and globally for Healthcare. Since inception in 1989, Nordic Capital has invested EUR 11 billion through eight funds. The Nordic Capital Funds are based in Jersey and are advised by advisory entities, which are based in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the UK. For further information about Nordic Capital please see www.nordiccapital.com