Programmers are in short supply today

Feb 13, 2023

We live in the age of digitization. Something that has led to a glaring skills shortage in programmers in particular. The warning lights flash red. And the question is: How will Sweden solve the problem?

In 2017, the industry organization IT- and Telekomföretagen made a survey of the skills shortage in the digital sector. A sector that previously often went under the name of the IT sector. The survey, which was the third in the field, showed that in 2022 there will be a shortage of around 70,000 people with IT skills in Sweden. It also showed that the challenges the sector faced in 2012 and 2015 still remained. A result of the extensive digitization that we see, both in Sweden and globally, has made the IT and telecom industry one of the most important engines for employment and economic growth.

Programmers are most in demand

But, and here we’re talking a really big BUT, an extremely big obstacle to growth is the rampant skills shortage. In short, we do not have enough programmers, system architects, data analysts, project managers or similar digital skills to maintain Sweden’s growth and competitiveness. At the end of February this year, a new survey was sent out to follow up the reports from 2012, 2015 and 2017. The survey was developed in collaboration with a number of other organizations and was answered by 212 employers, mainly active in IT and telecoms. Just like in 2017, the survey shows that the demand for fast and flexible delivery of IT services and systems is the most important driving force affecting skills. This year’s study also shows that nearly 80% of all survey respondents will see an increasing need for back end programmers of up to 15% or more per year within five years. The figure for front end programmers is very similar, which makes programming in general, regardless of the programming language, the most in-demand skill area.

Digital technology part of everyday life

One purpose of this type of research is to have a basis for directing action proposals to the education system, authorities and others responsible for Sweden’s skills supply. But the fact is that extremely fast efforts are required to fill the need. Today, digital technology is integrated into the work within virtually all companies and operations. This means that the need for a development department that has a natural part in the daily work is something that is increasingly in demand. The need to develop new software or manage and further develop existing software is constantly present in all businesses, but can of course vary over time.

Alternative required

Given the large lack of skills, we at Miller Development would like to take the opportunity to add a tab to the debate. The fact that we have a shortage of programmers in Sweden is of course a problem. We definitely agree that the country’s higher IT educations need quality assurance and that there should be more investment in getting young people to apply to the digital sector. But to think that this alarming shortage can be solved with domestic labor alone is unreasonable, even bordering on naïve. Therefore, we are extremely happy and proud to be able to contribute with one of all the options required. A long-term solution where we staff Swedish companies with independent and extremely accessible development teams that can increase or decrease as needed.