NFU Blog

Part 5: Employability in an increasingly digitalized sector

While the total number of jobs in the Swedish financial sector are decreasing there is an increasing trend of specialist job groups. Employability, therefore, increasingly is a matter of investment in professional development. What constitutes professional development, however,varies in type and priority.  Linnea Magro, researcher at Finansförbundet Sverige presents a case study from Sweden.

This week NFU publishes expert insights to the disruptive forces of the digital transition in the nordic finance sector written by seven trade union representatives in policy, politics and research. Each opinion piece is a written summary of a presentation given at the NFU Policy Affairs Forum on the 9-10th of April 2018.


Digitalization effects employees in many different ways. The number of jobs in the Swedish financial sector has slowly decreased for the past years. A closer look at the statistics shows that the number of jobs in customer service has decreased dramatically while there is an increase in number of specialist groups. Personnel in customer service jobs are therefore a job group more likely to need professional development to stay employable in the future. Employability will then be enabled by each person’s adaptability and openness to change. From an employer perspective professional development becomes an investment in innovation and growth to remain a relevant market competitor.

The collective agreement guarantees professional development within ordinary working hours and an individual professional development plan for all employees. But in a study from FSU-SE a third of employees in Sweden did not receive any professional development in 2016, and 50% did not have an individual professional development plan. Additionally, 40% of the planned professional development in 2016 was cancelled, mainly due to the lack of time. Of those who did receive professional development 85% found it to be relevant for their profession. Reinforcing the idea that the industrial investment in professional development is paying off when it is implemented.


Photo: FSU-SE


To investigate the reasons behind the result. FSU-Se has conducted interviews with HR managers from four large Swedish banks. The result underlines that the industry does not follow up on the agreed professional development and that the interpretation of what constitutes professional development varies. The situation can be improved by a common view on the content of professional development and by instating obligatory individual plans for employees. A change of culture is also needed from both employees and employers. Presently, many employees feel that taking responsibility is to prioritize work tasks and not professional development. The feeling should be that prioritizing both is responsible. And employers need to provide incentives for employees to make this priority.

In Norway FSU-NO’s shop stewards are increasingly working to encourage members to engage more in their professional development. However, some employees have a difficult time distinguishing what professional development they need or want on their own. Age seems to make a difference too, as younger employees tend to be more eager to take part in professional development. While older employees are more secure in their present job and forget to invest in their career security. Employability as understood will mean something different as the sector becomes more digitalized.

Världen förändras – häng på!

Världen förändras och finansbranschens jobb med den! Kom därför ihåg att:✔️ du har rätt till kompetensutveckling på arbetstid✔️ du ska ha en individuell kompetensutvecklingsplan✔️ du förlorar i längden på att ställa in kompetensutveckling på grund av av hög arbetsbelastningLäs mer om Finansförbundets förslag på hur medlemmarnas kompetensutveckling säkras i vår nya rapport:

Publicerat av Finansförbundet den 26 mars 2018


Read the report ”Världen förändras – häng på! – En rapport om kompetensutveckling inom finansbranschen” in full.


This is a written summary of a presentation given by Linnea Magro, researcher at Finansförbundet Sverige, on the 9-10th of April 2018 at the NFU Policy Affairs Forum. An event for secretariat staff with expertise in, or with a role connected to, sectorial and industry policy affairs. The overarching theme was: the disruptive impact of the fourth industrialization on the financial service sector. The purpose of the forum was to provide participants with the chance to exchange expertise and experiences on key finance sector topics while stimulating future cooperation and coordination on sectoral policy issues.  Several interesting proposals on how to follow up and improve coordination to increase the effect of shared policy work were proposed by the participants as a result.

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