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Nordic Countries Head List of Job Hotspots

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Norway, Sweden and Denmark are easiest places for workers to relocate, while UAE offers best growth potential for businesses

 Nordic countries aim to win the race for global talent by offering the easiest environments for relocation, according to research by professional services consultancy Procorre. But UAE offers the best growth prospects for the businesses employing them.

The research ranks oil-rich Norway top (with a score of 7.9 out of 10) in a list of 11 global employment hotspots identified as offering some of the most exciting prospects for businesses and international workers, with Sweden ranked second (7.5 out of 10), followed by Denmark (7.3 out of 10).

The Nordic countries came out ahead of leading Western European economies Germany and France and high-growth emerging economies such as Nigeria and the UAE.

Knowing which countries not only offer the best business prospects but the most straightforward systems for employing overseas workers to fill skills gaps and get critical projects off the ground quickly, is critical.


The research looked at three key factors:


  • The administrative hurdles involved in getting international staff into place, such as documentation requirements and registration processes
  • Legal issues such as the stability of the immigration regime and barriers to operating in a particular market
  • The scale of the opportunity for businesses and candidates, based on GDP, salary levels and unemployment.


While Finland scored slightly lower on bureaucracy than its neighbours, coming in at sixth place, with Sweden, Denmark and Norway taking first, third and fourth place respectively, the Nordic countries formed the top four in the study on legal issues.

The Nordic countries also took three out of the top five scores for the scale of economic opportunity for international workers and businesses. However, the UAE came second for the scale of economic opportunity, with a score of 7.4 out of 10 compared to an average of 6.2. This was the best score achieved in any category by any country outside Northern Europe.

The research shows that Norway, with its substantial oil industry, offers the greatest scope in terms of business opportunities, with relatively light-touch administrative procedures for incoming workers ensuring that businesses can have their pick of global talent.

However, Norway’s leading position could be challenged by its Nordic neighbours should oil prices remain depressed in the long term.

Non EU countries in the table – Nigeria, the UAE and Russia – present would-be market entrants and prospective international employees with bigger legal and administrative hurdles.


UAE Offers Best Growth Potential For Businesses


With growth of 4.5% forecast next year – far above any European country in the study – the UAE offers the best growth potential for businesses across a range of industries.

In the UAE, like Norway, GDP is still predicted to grow, and for workers looking to relocate, high average salaries and low unemployment have traditionally assured strong supply of well-paid roles.

However, while oil price turmoil makes the coming months less predictable for Norway, the UAE’s oil and gas industry may be less affected than those outside the Middle East because of lower cost of production.

Additionally, high levels of investment in infrastructure in the UAE are creating the right climate to support new businesses and new jobs across a range of sectors.

Subject to stabilising oil prices, Nigeria should still offer opportunities in oil and gas, and increasingly across other sectors.


1 Norway 7.9
2 Sweden 7.5
3 Denmark 7.3
4 Germany 7.2
5 France 7.1
6 Belgium 6.9
7 Finland 6.7
8 Italy 5.7
9 Nigeria 5.2
10 UAE 5.2
11 Russia 3.4