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Trends and Forecasts 2017:

Risk of growing shortage of teachers and specialist nurses

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2017-12-11 9.30

Trends and Forecasts 2017 shows increasing shortages of most types of teachers in the long term. The current shortage of specialist nurses is also likely to grow. The need for workers within the public service sector is expected to increase considerably between 2015 and 2035. This is mainly due to a growing population and therewith a significant increase in the number of children, adolescents and elderly persons.

Major challenges with staffing in schools and within health and medical care

According to the forecast, the current shortage of teachers is expected to continue in the future, especially among leisure time pedagogue teachers, general teachers, vocational teachers, preschool teachers and primary school teachers. In the field of health and medical care, the forecast indicates that covering future staffing needs will be challenging. In addition to a shortage of specialist nurses, the risk of continued lack of midwives and x-ray nurses is high, as is the risk of lack of physiotherapists and biomedical analysts.

Lack of persons with upper secondary vocational education

For several secondary-level fields of vocational education, the future labour supply is projected to be insufficient to cover future demand. By 2035 a shortage may occur, for example for persons educated in industrial work, vehicle repair and maintenance, construction, and food and restaurant work. A severe shortage is expected among upper secondary-educated health and social care workers, mostly because the number of newly educated will not meet the demand for workers needed to care for the elderly. A shortage of upper secondary-level engineers is also expected.

Risk of surplus of journalism graduates in the long term

Within the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities there is a risk of surplus for several fields of study. By 2035 there may be surpluses of educated journalists, humanities graduates and art school graduates. There is also a risk that the current surpluses of trained behavioral scientists, social workers and lawyers may grow. For persons with a degree in business economics or accounting the labor market situation in 2035 is expected to be relatively balanced.

Definitions and explanations

In Trends and Forecasts 2017, projections of the supply and demand of educated people are presented for the period 2015-2035.

For 59 educational groups more detailed descriptions of the future labour market are presented.

The report also contains sections that describe the future population changes, expected employment developments and branch and industry growth.

Assumptions behind the projections

The purpose of projecting the future availability of people with different educational backgrounds is to highlight future imbalances between the supply of and demand for labor. The calculations show that the educational level in Sweden continues to rise. By 2035, 46 percent of the population aged 20-64 is expected to have completed a post-secondary education, compared to 41 percent in 2016.

The projections assume that the education system will remain the same as today and that individuals will choose and complete educational programs at the same rates as today.

The calculations of the demand for educated persons are based on four components. The first component is total employment development, which is based on assumptions regarding people's participation in the labour market in the future. The second component is the future industrial development, where the number of gainfully employed persons is distributed among 59 different industries. The third is the assumptions about the occupational trend in each industry and the fourth is the assumptions on future educational demands per occupation.

Between 2015 and 2035, the number of employed persons aged 16-74 is expected to increase 13 percent from 4.7 million to 5.3 million, with foreign-born persons accounting for most of this increase. Employment is also expected to increase among older people. Changes in the economy during the forecast period are expected to lead to more persons working in the service sector and fewer in industry. Employment in the public service sector is expected to increase significantly. This is mainly due to demographic changes – a rising number of children, adolescents and elderly persons, which will lead to increased demand for welfare services, school, and healthcare.

The purpose of Statistics Sweden's calculations is to highlight imbalances between supply and demand that would arise if current trends in education and the labour market continue. The calculations thus do not take into account the effects such imbalances may have on people's choice of education, the state and municipalities control of educational resources or the labor market demand for different education groups. A large difference between projected future supply and demand does not necessarily mean that a certain number of people will be unemployed or that vacancies will not be added, but rather, the requirement for adjustment will be large.


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Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Forecast Institute

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Karin Zetterberg Grünewald

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Stefan Vikenmark

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