For this podcast episode, DMI invited Jyoti Sohal-David as host and Øystein E. Søreide as guest. Jyoti is a co-founder of Umbrella, which has a larger focus on recruitment of skilled migrants, inclusive onboarding strategies, and leadership. She is Norwegian with an Indian background and has lived in Australia for eleven years. When she moved back six years ago, she felt it was hard to find her place and the same for her Australian husband.
Jyoti asked Øystein the following questions:
As the CEO of Abelia, you are representing over 2800 companies across Norway. That’s a big responsibility. Tell us a bit about what the company does to support its members?
I know you’ve been talking a lot recently about the shortage of jobs in the Norwegian market, particularly in the tech sector. How does Abelia advocate for companies struggling to find talent in this market?
We know there will be more skilled migrants entering the workforce here. Do you think Norway is open to accepting internationals and those with differences?
I’m also thinking about the cultural component of bringing talent to Norway with a different background. For myself, when I moved out of Norway, I had changed after those 11 years, and when I came back, I felt a disconnect with my Norwegian friends. The fact I had changed was not always seen as positive, I was different or annerledes as we say it in Norwegian. For example, suddenly when I was striking up a conversation with the barista, I would ask about the origin of the coffee beans. Do you think Norway is ready for this? What are your observations?
Speaking from my experience in Umbrella, we’re sitting on a database with hundreds of candidates who are finding it difficult to get into the job market. People hear they’re overqualified or that their international qualifications aren’t valued. Do you think we have certain biases that prevent us from fully tapping into the whole population when it comes to building the Norwegian workforce?
How do you think we can do better on this front?
The biggest migration flow outside of the EEA (europe economic area) is coming from India, and many of these have great tech profiles, but there are also skilled professions. What we notice at Umbrella is the cultural barriers and certain stereotypes. This can often be a barrier to find employment matching the right skillsets. What do you think can be done to minimize these barriers?
What would you say to Norwegian employers who might be a bit unsure about bringing in international talent?