Early years teachers, biomedical laboratory scientists, bachelors of engineering and dentists are among the groups of graduates in which there may be future shortages unless the numbers of new enrolments on these programmes rise. More places are needed for dentistry students to reduce the threatened shortage. This also applies to some extent to medical students, as for several years Sweden has not produced the numbers of physicians required and has relied on the immigration of graduates in medicine from other countries. The other programmes from which a shortage of graduates is feared offer adequate numbers of places but interest among students is low. This applies to several categories of teachers, especially those focusing on early years and extended education, vocational teachers, special needs and special educational needs teachers. There have been shortages in these groups for several years.
These are some of the results of the estimates of the future balance of supply and demand of graduates from higher education made by the Forecasting Institute at Statistics Sweden (SCB) at the behest of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. This report is submitted in response to the National Agency's remit from the government to produce figures to enable higher education institutions to plan their programme offerings in relation to future labour market requirements.
Future requirements can to some extent be predicted on the basis of known circumstances in the labour market, which may lead to potential changes in the range of programmes offered. Chief among these known circumstances are the numbers of future retirements, which vary for different categories of graduates and which lead to differences in future recruitment needs. Historically there have been variations in the development of different sectors so that some areas expand while others decline. Structural changes in the labour market of this kind also affect recruitment needs to varying degrees. Demographic developments, age ratio variations and technological changes in different sectors are examples of circumstances that can in the long term affect how many graduates of different categories will be needed in the future.
According to the estimates the categories in which shortages will arise in a few years which seem likely to persist until 2025 are those involving graduates in biomedical laboratory science, vocational teachers, extended school teachers, bachelors of science in pharmacy and engineering, special needs and special educational needs teachers, early years teachers and dentists. Overall a number of programmes leading to professional qualifications need to enrol more students to avoid future shortages.
Given the current numbers of new entrants, there is a risk that surpluses will arise for some graduate categories. This applies for instance to students in programmes in social work and law or subjects such as economics, the fine, applied and performing arts, journalism and media studies, the natural sciences as well as informatics, computer studies and system science. There is also a risk of a surplus of graduates from master's programmes in pharmacy and in engineering. These are two groups for which it is particularly difficult to make estimates. The shortages of those with bachelor's degrees in pharmacy and engineering may increase the chances of employment for those with corresponding master's degrees in the same sector. Recruitment needs for graduates with master's degrees in engineering also vary according to their areas of specialisation.
The most explicit results of the estimates are that more new entrants are needed in teacher-education programmes and in bachelor's programmes in engineering. In terms of numbers these are the largest categories in higher education. Where teacher education programmes are concerned lack of student interest is the principal cause, as the shortage is not due to any dearth of places in higher education. More students need to opt for programmes for early years and extended education. Some changes may be needed in the areas where shortages could arise to make them more attractive in the future.
The table below summarises the predicted balance when those beginning their studies in the academic year of 2010/11 start to complete their programmes and enter the labour market — unless the current numbers of new entrants are changed (see also the introduction to the next section). The figures for each individual group disclose that for the following five graduate categories the situation will change after students beginning their programmes in the autumn of 2010 begin to enter the labour market: for primary school teachers from shortage to surplus; for graduates in library and information science from shortage to balance; for graduates in agriculture and horticulture from balance to shortage; for graduates in the humanities and psychology from balance to surplus; for graduates in systems science from surplus to balance.
|Biomedical laboratory science||Shortage|
|Extended school teaching||Shortage|
|BSc in pharmacy*||Shortage|
|BSc in engineering||Shortage|
|Special needs and special education needs teaching||Shortage|
|Early years teaching||Shortage|
|Primary school teaching||Shortage|
|Graduates in library and information science||Shortage|
|MSc in pharmacy*||Balance|
|Agriculture and horticulture||Balance|
|Secondary school and upper secondary school teaching||Balance|
|Social and behavioural sciences||Balance|
|MSc in engineering||Surplus|
|Fine, applied and performing arts||Surplus|
|MSc in pharmacy*||Surplus|
* The estimates indicate a surplus of those graduating with master's degrees in pharmacy and a shortage of those with bachelor's degrees. It is difficult to estimate future needs for these two categories as the pharmacy market is now being deregulated. For the two groups together the estimates suggest there will be a balance.
** Graduates in veterinary surgery constitute a small group so that the estimates are uncertain. For this reason the balance for this group is based on a three-year average.