NFU Blog

Part 2: Second wave of digitalization

Dag Arne Kristensen (@arkri01) Head of Politics and Competence at Finansforbundet Norge, faces the second wave of digitalization with norwegian innovation and adaptability. A deepened role for the finance sector in society, exponential growth rates, and trade union contributions to politics and legislature paint a picture of a sector fully prepared for the future.

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.

The finance sector, contrary to common perception, contributes to society at large. If not the EU Commission’s action plan for sustainable growth convinces you the mounting capital to business, local players and communities should. As the sector surfs on the second wave of digitalization (first cable internet and now mobile internet) its growth potential is exponential (see graph on “second wave of digitalization”[1]) in concern to services in cloud storage, big data, IoT, portability, blockchain, AI and robotics.



The second wave of digitalization also deepens the sector’s role in society which in turn can generate opportunities for completely new types of work. For example, to meet new customer needs in experience, channels, mobile and social areas.

The finance sector in Norway is a growth sector, and when it comes to the number of employees the banking sector represents the largest increase in the Norwegian finance sector. The sector in Norway is, however, small and national based, when compared to the finance sectors’ in other EU countries (see graph on assets in percentage of GDP[2]). The growth rate is, expectedly, bigger in the non-traditional banking sector, e.g. FinTech, RegTech and AI. It is FSU-NO’s observation that the productivity of the sector, both as a sector and per category generate a substantial growth from 2002 – 2010.



A report commissioned by FSU-NO and published in the BI Business Review[3] (2015) shows that the number of employees  has not changed notably 2002-2015. The competence intensive work, moreover, has potential for growth. However, from 2010 – 2014 the growth remained under the level of GDP growth per capita. FSU-NO’s therefore predicts that the ongoing technological development will result in a total decrease of number of employees also in the banking sector. Additionally, due to the nature of the second wave of digitalization – social inventions and technical solutions, often attributed to middle-skilled jobs – it is likely that the middle-skilled employees will have their responsibilities automated, even if they advance their competencies. This signals that there is a need to prepare also for their transition. Yet the Norwegian government tends to focus their strategies regarding ‘future work’ on the low-skilled jobs.

Following the objective to stay relevant in a changing sector, in 2014 FSU-NO approached the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament regarding a new industrial policy. The envisioned policy advocates for the potentials of a growing sector, recognizes the sector’s role in society, and level the playing field between new and traditional firms. It has however been proven difficult to convince the Norwegian government to prepare for the reduction of the middle-qualification segment of jobs. Industry however has shown more interest in cooperating in the transition.

A key to successful policy work has been research and FSU-NO’s dedication to build wide spread knowledge. Some examples of that are: “Outsourcing-guide_Deloitte[4], “Analyse-av-Basel-I-gulvet-for-banker-og-årlig-rentegaranti-for-privat-ytelsesbasert-pensjon” (Menon Business Economics, 2016)[5], “Grønne-vekstmuligheter-for-norsk-finansnæring-muligheter-og-ansvar” (PWC, 2017)[6]. Several other research projects with the Norwegian Business School further lays a foundation for understanding the development in the finance sector and has played a key role in opening doors to politicians and legislators in Norway.



[1] In presentation by Dag Arne Kristensen, Head of Politics and Competence at Finansforbundet Norge 10th April


[2] Eurostat, SECO, den sveitsiske sentralbanken (SNB), Finanstilsynet, Statistisk sentralbyrå 2015


[3] Nordkvelde, M., Alexandru, R. & Reve, T. (2015) Den norske finansnæringen – en vekstnæring Retrived from BI Handelshögskola and published in BI Business Review 9 March 2016


[4] Deloitee. (2016) Guide til outsourcing – En rapport til Finansforbundet, February 2016.


[5] Menon Business Economics (2016) Samfunnsøkonomiske analyser av finansmarkedsregulering: Analyse av Basel I-gulvet for banker og årlig rentegaranti for privat ytelsesbasert pensjon no. 2/2016 January


[6] PWC (2017) Grønne vekstmuligheter for norsk finansnæring – muligheter og ansvar



This is a written summary of a presentation given by Dag Arne Kristensen, Head of Politics and Competence at Finansforbundet Norge, 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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