Wednesday, January 19

Erna Solberg: – Too few Norwegians to do all the jobs in the future

We are too few in Norway to do all the jobs in the future, says Conservative leader Erna Solberg. She will retrain more unemployed people to make up for it.

Solberg ended up in quarantine before Christmas after her husband Sindre Finnes was infected with the coronavirus, but she managed to avoid infection herself. Here she is wearing a Bent Høie bandage. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

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– The really big challenge next year is two trends that meet each other: The business community that lacks labor, at the same time as there are many people who need a job, Solberg says to NTB.

She has lined up for a Christmas interview, but would rather talk about what the Conservatives will challenge the government on next year.

– The most important thing for us next year is to splice the vacancies with those who do not have a job. And find out how we give the unemployed the skills they need, says Solberg.

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She believes that one of the solutions lies with the companies themselves.

– Employers must understand that there is not necessarily a newly graduated 22-year-old or 19-year-old with a trade certificate and knocks on the door. They may have to invest in people so that they get an education while they work, says the former prime minister.

– It has been busy enough, even though I am not prime minister, says Conservative leader Erna Solberg about the Christmas season.

Travel jul

NTB joins Solberg on a small round at the Christmas market at Karl Johan to take some pictures. There has been little time for Christmas gift shopping.

– It has been busy enough, even though I am not prime minister. And then I have been in quarantine, says Solberg, who got infected into the home via her husband Sindre Finnes in the run-up to Christmas. She does not know that on Christmas Eve she will experience a new quarantine. Before that time, there will be a few days “in freedom”.

At the market, she buys both roasted almonds and wool soles.

At the Christmas market, trade is booming, and the money seems to be loose. The corona pandemic has affected differently. While some industries lay off, others struggle to hire enough people.

– This is what we saw earlier in the pandemic. Those who have been unemployed do not have the skills needed for the jobs we have. It will be very important to work with our education system, says Solberg.

Conservative leader Erna Solberg on a trip to the Christmas market in Spikersuppa in Oslo.

– Too few Norwegians

NHO’s member survey from December shows that around half of 2,200 companies say that they lack qualified labor, despite corona measures.

– There are too few Norwegians in relation to all the jobs that will be done in the future. We simply have to be clearer about where we use the workforce, and then we have to ensure skills replenishment, says the former Prime Minister.

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– You ruled for eight years, and now it turns out that Norwegian companies are struggling to find the right skills when they hire. What did you do wrong?

– We have done a lot on this already, but there is no “quick fix”, and it must be done even more. And then there have been periods of job shortages. But this is a consequence of the fact that things are now going well, says Solberg.

– First and foremost, this is a golden opportunity to get those who are outside working life, and who can work, back into working life. But we must be prepared to retrain.

Conservative leader Erna Solberg buys a pair of wool soles at the Christmas market in Spikersuppa in Oslo. Parts of the Norwegian economy are flourishing, while other industries must lay off. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB


Solberg himself has retrained in opposition in the Storting again after the election defeat this autumn.

– There are both small and big things that take time when you both have to change jobs. New e-mail address and new computer systems and all that, she says.

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– What do you think about the job Jonas Gahr Støre does as your successor?

– I disagree with his policy in some important areas. I disagree with his downgrading of knowledge and competence, for example, says Solberg.

She refers, among other things, to the government’s grip on the school field.

– The things they do at school, with taking away science lessons, taking away the teacher specialist scheme and lowering the requirements for teacher education. It is the wrong direction.

– The most important thing for us next year is to splice the vacancies with those who do not have a job, says Conservative leader Erna Solberg.

– Miss you

Out at the Christmas market, there seem to be more people who want Solberg back as prime minister.

– We miss you, says a passing lady.

– You are the best prime minister, says another.

Solberg insists that she will return to the Prime Minister’s Office in four years.

– That’s my plan. Four years is a long time in Norwegian politics, but that is my plan at the moment. Then I will answer the election committee of the Conservative Party eventually.

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