How to boost labour market mobility across the Nordics?

Did you know that less than 2% work in another Nordic country than the one where they were born, and only 0.5 % commute over a Nordic border for work? The opportunity to work in another Nordic country has existed for over 70 years. However, the labour market mobility in the Nordic region is lower than the EU average.

“Cross-border labour market mobility is extensive in certain areas, for example, the Öresund region. To achieve the Nordic vision, labour market mobility should be facilitated on a much larger scale,” says Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio.

To understand the phenomenon better, Nordregio researchers analysed the labour market mobility, opportunities and obstacles in various ways – through publicly available statistics, interviews with people with labour market experience across the Nordics and a workshop including policymakers.

“Everyone seems to know the benefits and great possibilities of Nordic labour mobility. The policymakers are also familiar with the main obstacles that relevant stakeholders at the border regions have pointed out for years. Still, a political commitment at the highest levels seems lacking regarding Nordic mobility. In times of crisis, this becomes particularly clear,” says Ágúst Bogason, one of the researchers behind the study. He bases this assumption on the results of close to 40 interviews with relevant stakeholders on both sides of three Nordic border regions.

What’s the scope of the Nordic competence mobility?

In the working paper “Re-start Competence Mobility in the Nordic Region”, we share the latest data on labour market mobility across national borders in the Nordic Region through migration and commuting. We also present findings from a review of current literature on labour market mobility in the Nordic Region and introduce an analytical framework for exploring potential improvements.

Why do Nordic people choose to work in another Nordic country?

The story map “Competence Mobility” examines why people choose to work in another Nordic country and why not. Welcome to explore facts about the Nordic labour market mobility and stories of people experiencing Nordic labour market mobility in Greater Copenhagen, Greenland and Vestfold Telemark.

How could policies steer the Nordic labour market mobility?

In the policy brief “How can labour market mobility in the Nordic Region be increased?”, we provide recommendations to the Nordic policymakers that would ultimately help achieve the Nordic vision – to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.

About the project

The project “Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region” explores labour market mobility and the possibility of re-starting and enhancing it in the Nordic region. The study is conducted under the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (2021-2024).