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The Nordics top rankings for brain jobs but France is catching up

A new study produced by the European center on entrepreneurship and Nordic Capital highlights the gap that still exists in high-knowledge job distribution, as the Nordic countries come out on top of this ranking. However, amidst a general catch-up of European countries, France appears as one of the high performers with promising upsides for the future.

While the Nordic countries remain on top, France is catching up  

In the competition to capture the largest part of knowledge-intensive jobs, the Nordic countries still overperform in Europe. Sweden has the largest share of the active population employed in these types of jobs in the EU. For the whole continent, only Switzerland surpasses Sweden. Likewise, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland are topping the ranking. Moreover, Nordic countries are very diversified, adding jobs in the four core areas of the “Brain business”: information & communication technology (ICT), advanced services, creative professions, and high tech.     

However, the general tendency is trending towards an even playing field, with a lot of countries catching up. Among them, France stands out as one of the future heavyweights in knowledge-intensive jobs. The Paris region already has the highest number of these jobs, around 1,2 million, due to its high percentage of innovative companies and their large educated population. The study highlights a few sectors as particularly performing ones: publishing, TV/media, pharmaceuticals or head offices & management.   

Read more: France deploys significant measures in the competition for talents 

How is France striving to catch-up with the Nordic in the race for talents?  

The report points out two major weaknesses in France: the under-development of ICT and the concentration of brain business jobs in the Paris region. However, despite these lackluster fields, the proportion of knowledge-intensive jobs in France has increased by 8% over the 2014-2019 period.

A large part of this increase can be attributed to the strong pro-talent policies that have been implemented in the last years. They are outlined in one of our recent articles, we can highlight:  

Read more: France, the smart choice for your investment (Choose France Summit)

France is committed to setting up talents for success, with programs such as the Talent passports, which is a multi-year residency permit for highly qualified professionals coming to work in the country. For start-up founders settling in France, the French Tech program proposes a Welcome Pack that includes visas, grants and local helpdesk support. They will also enjoy the highly qualified French workforce, as 46% of French 25-34 years old have graduated with a Master, one of the highest percentages in Europe.   

While the Nordic countries are leading the way to create and structure innovative ecosystems in Europe, France has set out to bridge the gap. There are however no doubts that the competition for brain business jobs and talents will be won at a European level in the long term.

Contact us if you need more information or guidance in your investment project in France.