Unemployment in Norway did not do that He was under 14 years old. Record number of vacancies. When HR Director Henriette Hall-Eriksen in Ramirent was asked how difficult the situation is to get people, she replied (see the facts box below):
– We have a challenge in Oslo, where we basically struggle. We also see in the Oslo market that the prices are too low to cover the wage level, especially on scaffolding projects. At the same time, other companies pay higher wages, and we don’t fully understand how they were then able to make money.
Do you know which companies are affected by labor shortages? Nettavisen’s editorial staff advice is here.
- Ramirent is Norway’s leading supplier of machinery and equipment rental for the construction and other industries.
- In Norway, Ramirent has 400 employees
- The company is owned by France’s Loxam, the third largest machine rental company in the world.
Hall-Eriksen says the employment challenge is largely related to reduced labor migration through 2021. There has been pressure on salaries and the availability of skilled workers in the Oslo region. Labor migration is now back to the same level as before, but unemployment remains low.
What professional categories are difficult to obtain?
Scaffolding technicians, electricians, other professional groups, and some IT jobs are challenging. It’s an employee market, and we’ve seen in a couple of cases they use our pay offer as leverage with their employer.
Are companies now outbidding each other in an employee battle?
– Yes, of course, and this applies to both skilled workers and IT workers. Employees simply use the lack of people in their wage negotiations.
Ramirent, like the rest of the construction industry, was dependent on foreign labour. But now many foreigners are moving home, because they get better working conditions and wages in their home countries.
I slept for an hour
– I understand that they want to go home with their families. In Norway, I think we slept quite a bit per hour when it comes to skilled workers in the construction industry. We need to be more proactive, and at Ramirent we have to think creatively to attract and retain scaffolding technicians, says the Human Resources Director.
The scaffolding industry has been marked by hiring, but the management team at Ramirent Norway decided last fall that they would select permanent staff and focus on more apprentices.
Hall-Eriksen says they have a very exciting pilot project with NAV on motivated and resourceful job seekers who have no formal competence or experience. So they do not enter the labor market.
Through this cooperation, Ramirient obtained six good candidates, of which two of the candidates obtained permanent jobs.
– It was a condition where they had to pass the course. The skilled workers are our go-to, as they take care of the equipment and make sure it looks good.
– As part of social responsibility, we have the opportunity to accommodate people for whom there are no great demands on formal competence. But with us, they can get commercial certification scaffolding in action, and it takes one to three years after employees first worked one year, Hall-Eriksen says.
The Støre government has been clear that it will tighten the hiring process and come close to stifling the recruitment industry. The goal is for most employees to be permanent employees, which is something that Ramiriente also worries about.
– It’s more stable, and we have to develop our staff. A few years ago, we had only permanent employees, but then we moved to cooperation with recruitment companies.
This is an industry that goes up and down a lot, but we want as many employees as possible so we can develop them and not constantly train new hires. But like I said, it’s demanding scaffolding, says Hall-Eriksen.
– And what about the level of the mechanics salary, is it a challenge?
– We are associated with the Central Joint Building Agreement, as we are a member of the Norwegian Building Industry Association.
Our mechanics are paid almost above the minimum wage. 220 kr per hour. We also have a demo project on piece pay so we see it contribute to increased productivity and profitability for the employer. It also provides a higher salary to the employee, answers the HR manager.
– We fight
Another industry that needs more employees is the tourism industry, such as the hotel and restaurant industry.
– It’s a challenge to get people, we’re struggling with it after the pandemic. We hired staff from England, Germany and France, but they are now back in their home countries.
Summer still seems to be going well, because there are a lot of people who want summer work with us, says Executive Vice President Morten Thorvaldsen at Thungroup.
He is responsible for Thon Hotels, where approx. 5200 people. Thorvaldsen estimates that they are missing “a hundred”.
Chefs and waiters
The biggest challenge is the lack of chefs and waiters. Waiters are good for training, but chefs have a longer perspective. This applies to skilled workers in general, so we receive and train unskilled workers. That’s a nice thing, then we get a new experience.
Is the deficiency due to geography?
Not really, it’s very similar everywhere. But in the Eastern Province, we probably suffer the most, the executive vice president admits.
Are you losing sales because there are too few people?
– no I do not think so. We’re reorganizing and redoing a bit, creating slightly simpler concepts, like better use of facilities. At the same time, I know that there is growing concern in the industry about this very thing, and that more people are now struggling in the reconstruction phase, Thorvaldsen answers.
So Thorvaldsen is interested in employment in what she embraces as an “interesting industry”. It includes everyone, from those who have a college to those who have no formal education at all. And you have very good career prospects.
– Now we have to work harder to get this message across well enough. It probably scared someone that the industry shut down so quickly during the pandemic. But beyond that, we haven’t been good enough to modernize the industry and take pride in what we do.
All expectations are that tourism is here to stay, so it is a very attractive workplace for creative people, who love working with people and want to help create unique experiences.
Cooperating with NAV
– What do you do to recruit?
– We’ve had some sessions with NAV, in Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger. Here we invite people to come to us. In the stands we have a person from the reception, a chef, a waiter, a housekeeper.
– Here, job seekers can register their interest and call them for an interview. When we last did this at the Thon Hotel Opera in Bjørvika, a total of 400 people attended, says the executive vice president.
– But if you look ahead, do you rely entirely on importing labor?
– Yes, we struggle to work. But we hope that there will be more and more people educate themselves in the tourism industry. That is the challenge, there are very few who get an education and therefore we are dependent on foreign labour.
But beyond that, we haven’t been good enough to modernize the industry and take pride in what we do.
Thorvaldsen says the tourism industry in general is the fastest growing industry in the world. Obtaining qualified employment is not just a Norwegian phenomenon. Thon Hotels has hotels in both Belgium and the Netherlands, and they have the same challenge there.
– What about the ability to pay in the hotel and restaurant industry?
We are characterized by a low wage industry. But if you compare us to shops and gas stations, we’re pretty much in line. Thorvaldsen answers that the salary depends, among other things, on the number of years worked and whether you have a business degree.
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