Sweden third most ‘digital’ in EU – but there’s room for improvement

a girl using a laptop
Sweden is the most competitive in the field of human capital, thanks to its IT literate population. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT
Sweden is the third most advanced digital economy in the European Union, a new EU ranking shows. But in three years the country will have a shortage of tens of thousands of ICT specialists.

The European Commission’s annual report on digital services in Europe, the Digital Economy and Society Index (Desi), put Sweden behind only Denmark and Finland.

Sweden’s main strength lies in human capital, for which it ranked second in the EU, thanks to its high level of basic and above basic digital skills in the population.

“However, more action is needed to increase the pool of digital experts. Estimates indicate that the country will have a shortage of 70,000 ICT specialists by 2024,” warned the report, citing statements by industry organisation Swedish IT and Telecom Industries.

The report noted that Sweden’s share of ICT specialists was among the highest in the EU, but that 55.1 percent of companies reported that they were struggling to recruit them.

It also dubbed Sweden as a “front-runner” on connectivity (ranked fifth in the EU), but noted that availability of 5G and 1 Gbps connections could be sped up.

In terms of integrating digital technologies, the third out of four areas the report looked at, Sweden ranked third in the EU, but the report warned that the pace of Sweden’s growth was slowing down, so it could find itself outrun by other EU member states.

The report also noted that Sweden was ranked fifth in digital public services in the EU, the fourth and final area, but again warned that other countries were advancing faster.

“One area in which Sweden has improved significantly is in making available open data, which has been identified as a key driver for innovative public services. The uptake of eID is very high among the Swedish population, but the potential to use the eID across borders is not being tapped,” it added in regards to digital public services.

It noted that more than 80 percent of Sweden’s population uses mobile electronic ID, including that 98 percent of people aged 18-67 use BankID, Sweden’s most common form of electronic ID, which is required to access many digital public services.

BankID is only available to people with a Swedish social security number, the 10 or 12-digit personnummer, making it harder for newcomers to access many services in Sweden, an issue The Local has covered a number of times. The Desi report did not elaborate on this.


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