The Nordics continue to trailblaze the rest of the EU when it comes to the implementation of Data & Analytics tools and trends. Described as the global leader in the digital economy, with above 90 per cent of the population being regular internet users, the investment in Tech and Data has always been at the forefront of the region’s mind. For the last five years, Data centres across countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway have popped up regularly, with the likes of AWS, Apple, Facebook, and Google happily investing in the Nordic’s rapidly growing data scene. The region’s USP lies very much in its forward-thinking nature when it comes to technological advances. Its attractiveness to many large tech investors, as well as the reason for so many innovative businesses being able to set up camp, is because of its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) infrastructure. This includes ‘high penetration’ of fibre broadband services which subsequently allows businesses to develop and use Data & Analytics tools such as cloud computing. But how has the region fared during the pandemic? What changes has the sector witnessed across the countries in question, and what trends may we expect to see in the coming months and years as a result of COVID-19?Not everywhere is as accepting of changeThere’s a clear divide between countries who are happy to embrace change post-COVID, and those who aren’t. And by embrace change, this very much refers to ensuring vacancies are filled with exceptional talent, whether this means from within the Nordics or foreign countries.Stockholm is a key example of a centre not only accepting of, but vying for, change. As one of Sweden’s (and The Nordics’) most renowned tech hubs – this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. To continue this long-standing reign, as well as ensure that the businesses within the region continue to have the skillsets and expertise to innovate and meet consumer demand, thinking outside the box has been crucial. However, this open-minded stance can’t be found everywhere. Cities such as Oslo and Norway have been slower to adopt current trends. This has meant a serious tightening of available talent pools for regions such as these, a severe hike in salary inflation and a, seemingly unnecessary, war for talent. Sought after roles have changedWhile there are some roles that remain as needed as they were pre-pandemic, such as Big Data and Cloud Engineers, COVID-19 has certainly brought certain roles into the spotlight and even created brand-new ones that were barely on the radar 18 months ago. Data Engineers are undoubtedly the most desired specialists in the current climate. Not only has the pandemic shown businesses the importance of accurately collecting data sets for analysis to ensure decisions are made on an informed basis, but Data Scientists no longer want to be lumped into multiple categories. Scientists want to be recognised as a separate entity to Engineers and vice versa and because of this, the number of specialist Engineer teams has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. As mentioned, there have been one or two job roles that were hardly even mentioned before COVID-19 struck but have suddenly become inundated with demand. Machine Learning Operatives (MLOps) are one example. Described as a set of practices that deploy and maintain machine learning models in production reliably and efficiently, a similar arm to DevOps, it is an area that has rarely been at the forefront of business’ minds before now. The main reason for this change may include the need to create less friction between data science teams and operations teams, both of who may have become overwhelmed with workload over the past 18 months. MLOps Engineers reduce the risk of bottlenecking and allow processing to continue seamlessly and efficiently, even during times of high demand. There’s still a serious problem with gender parity As our latest Data & Analytics salary guide showed, the number of female employees in the industry remains incredibly low at only 21 per cent. This certainly hasn’t been helped by COVID-19, with women being far more negatively affected job-wise in comparison to their male counterparts. Not only does this add to the strain of the candidate shortage, but the lack of gender parity also means that the voices, perspectives, and views in the industry continue to be extremely skewed towards men. While this is a direct consequence of the pandemic, we continue to have a systemic problem here nonetheless. There is not enough done at education level to encourage women to take up STEM subjects at school or university and this root cause of the problem must be challenged and stamped out. COVID-19 has been an incredibly turbulent time for all industries across the Nordics, and we’re now beginning to witness those areas where the cracks are starting to show, as well as those that have been positively impacted by change. The next six to 12 months will undoubtedly be filled with both trepidation and excitement for the industry, regionally and nationally, and we look forward to seeing what comes next. If you’re looking for your next opportunity in the Nordics or to build out a data team in the region, Harnham can help. Take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with our expert Nordics consultants to find out more.