Today a top concern for most people and businesses around the world is the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a race to identify it’s impacts at individual, societal and organizational levels, and to get ahead in adapting to them. On this note, the Startuplifers team was eager to better understand the changing dynamics of today’s job market. So we surveyed Nordic talent about their motivations and interests related to startup work, and if and how they’ve evolved in the wake of current events. Here is an overview of the key trends we uncovered.

Who answered the survey?

We received 104 responses in total, of which 98 identified themselves as a student or a graduate from a Finnish or Swedish university. Majority of the respondents (78) are currently located in Finland and the remaining are in Sweden (12) and the rest of the world (14).

Furthermore, 43% stated ‘Tech’ as their area of focus/expertise, while 18% mentioned ‘Business’ and 31% ‘Design’. The respondents are highly educated in that 48% have a Bachelor’s degree, 47% a Master’s and 2% a PhD respectively. Moreover, 12% are currently studying towards a Bachelor’s degree while a whopping 53% are pursuing a Master’s.

In terms of previous work experience 43% of the respondents are emerging Nordic talent with less than 2 years of experience. Thereon, 29% have 2-3 years of experience, while 15% have 3-4 years and 13% over 4 years respectively. Furthermore, 57% of them have worked in a startup before. Interestingly, a vast majority of the talent have also worked remotely with 58% having worked fully remote and 37% partially.

Type of startups and teams that attract Nordic talent

We asked the respondents what type of startup they are interested to join. The type of startup was pre-defined for them as ‘Early stage’, ‘A-stage’ and ‘Growth stage’. You can find more information on how we defined these stages here. A-stage startups are the winner drawing the interest of 48% of the respondents. However, with 44% interested in the Early stage and 41% in the Growth stage, it’s fair to say the preference gap among the three types was slim.

We also questioned them on the preferred size of the company and the team they wish to join. 53% preferred companies with 10-30 people while 47% wanted to join one with 30-50 people. With regards to the team size, 62% preferred to join teams with 3-5 members and 43% to teams with 5-8 people respectively. Among these Nordic talent companies and teams with an intimate number of employees were a favourite.

Nordic Talent Trends 2020

Industries in demand

We were really curious to see which industries emerged on top in this COVID-19 era. So we provided an extensive list of 37 sectors ranging from ‘Agricultural tech’ to ‘Wearables’, alphabetically speaking. ‘Education’ and ‘Health & Wellbeing’ emerged on top with both industries receiving the exact amount of picks (24.04% or 25 respondents)! Next up was the ‘Communications’ industry with a 14% respondent preference, very closely followed by ‘Music, Art & Entertainment’ with 13% of the picks. What were the least popular industries you ask? Well, there was also a fight to the bottom. ‘Construction tech’, ‘Home & Living’, ‘Legal tech’, ‘Real Estate’ and ‘Regtech & Compliance’ all were picked by just 1 or no respondents.

Nordic talent trends survey

*Remaining sectors surveyed not shown on the graph – cleantech (7.69%), construction tech (0.96%), consumer electronics (1.92%), cryptocurrencies (2.88%), energy (5.77%), enterprise software (7.69%), event tech (6.73%), fashion (6.73%), fintech & insurance tech (8.65%), food & nutrition (5.77%), gaming (8.65%), jobs & recruitment (3.85%), materials (1.92%), media (8.65%), medtech & pharma (1.92%), mobility (9.62%), real estate (0.96%), regtech & compliance (0.00%), spacetech (5.77%), sports (2.88%), transportation & logistics (4.81%), travel & leisure (4.81%), wearables (6.73%).

Key motivators for Nordic talent when relocating for work

Perhaps the question of the year 2020 is ‘what would it take to get people to travel again’. Specially for those of us in the business of placing talent transnationally, knowing what impacts their mobility is really important. So we asked the respondents the top factors that affected them the most when selecting the location of their next job abroad. If you are thinking most of them would be extra cautious about relocation, hold your horses!

58% of the respondents selected ‘Work culture’ as the factor that motivated them the most. Next up was the ‘Average salary’ with 47% picks followed by 35% who stated ‘Future job market prospects’. Meanwhile, 21% identified ‘Safety’ as one of the motivating factors. The least concerning factors selected were ‘Proximity to home’ by 3% and the ‘Weather’ by 6%. It’s no surprise there considering they are Nordic talent after all, and have endured all types of weather conditions!

How do they want to work?

With most companies jumping aboard the ‘work from home’ train, there are many work options available today. For instance, some companies have a hybrid model with some days at home and some days at the office. Furthermore, while some have gone fully remote others continue business as usual with no remote options available. We asked the respondents how they preferred to work. The highest number of respondents (67%) preferred to have a remote start and transfer to onsite work later. Across the board, irrespective of whether they were relocating within Finland, Sweden, the Nordics, European Union (including EEA and Switzerland), or the rest of the world the preference remained the same.

In the weeks to come we will dig deeper into the survey and uncover more unique trends. We have gathered a lot of valuable information from salary expectations to job roles that are most in demand. Meanwhile, what can we deduce from these key trends so far? Nordic talent are a highly skilled, adaptable and optimistic bunch, craving for exhilarating work experiences. They’ve embraced the new norm and are looking forward to going after international startup experience in whichever way possible.

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