Gothenburg as a destination for talent and innovators

Gothenburg as a destination for talent and innovators

gothenburg-frontGothenburg’s world-class excellence in scientific research is evident in the large number of international companies – as well as colleges, universities, science parks and seed companies – found in our region today. Gothenburg is ranked 12th among the world’s most innovative cities according to Forbes business magazine’s survey on patents per capita. One important factor behind Gothenburg’s high positions in several rankings is the region’s many knowledge-based companies.

We are home to several global companies, including Volvo, CEVT, Getinge, Dentsply Sirona and Mölnlycke Healthcare. In total, about 3000 foreign-owned working places with some 80,000 employees operate in Gothenburg today. AstraZeneca, the largest pharmaceutical company in Sweden, has one of its three global R&D centres in Gothenburg, which has seen extensive consolidation over the past four years.

With one of the country’s highest percentages of life science employees holding an MD/PhD, Gothenburg is at the forefront of both clinical and translational research, and has become one of the leading centres for clinical research in Sweden. In large part, due to the Sahlgrenska University Hospital.  With over 17,000 employees and 2300 beds, the hospital is today one of the largest healthcare facilities in Europe. It has national commissions in several fields and wide recognition for its outstanding clinical research. Sahlgrenska University Hospital forms the centrepiece of a cluster of related organisations, including Sahlgrenska Academy, Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska Science Park and several public and private sector companies all located in close proximity to each other.


The Life Science sector is complex. We have seen its evolution during the last years to more consolidation, outsourcing and new business models. New challenges associated to an aging population and rising health costs have induced the rapid development of some fields like e-health, bioinformatics, regenerative medicine, personalised medicine and diagnostics.

This gradual change of structure within the life science industry has had an impact on the supply of competence within the sector. Companies are becoming more specialized and their employees have to possess unique skills to ensure companies remain at the forefront of innovation. Small and medium sized companies are often looking for people with multi-competencies, whereas larger companies are able to employ people in more specialized roles. Another issue is deciding whether to foster these talents or competencies internally or focus on attracting top international talent. But talent is not only about technical skills and education. Factors such as commitment, collaboration abilities and communication are also considered.

Global talent is vitally important for a knowledge- intensive industry such as Life Science. For a small export-dependent country with an ageing population like Sweden, attracting global talent is crucial if it is to secure competitiveness and growth in the future. 

But, how to attract talent? Regions and countries across the globe are realizing the same thing and new collaborations between public, private and academic sectors are already flourishing everywhere. The competition is therefore already tough, not to mention the competition from cities with a naturally strong appeal like Boston, London, Paris or Berlin. Gothenburg must therefore strive very hard to attract the people that will help us maintain our long-track record of success in innovation.

Several public and private organizations in Gothenburg have joined forces to facilitate talent attraction by providing a soft landing for the international employees and their families. It is not just about basic resources as an information portal or a welcome center. We are talking about prioritizing areas such as housing, international school, jobs for the partners, and so on.  Consequently, Gothenburg is making extensive investments in infrastructure and urban development. During 2014, SEK 47 billion was invested in housing and office space in the Gothenburg region. Leading up to 2035, investments will amount to over SEK 1,000 billion.

Business Region Gothenburg works to promote the development of a regional economic growth that is based on knowledge and innovation. We know that active policies to attract, develop and retain the talent that will drive this changing economy is the key determinant of success.

Business Region Göteborg creates arenas and ecosystems that can attract the talent that businesses need to maintain their competitiveness; that can stimulate the growth of our start-ups; and that can provide the lifestyle experiences and attractive city that many international professionals and young people demand.

Gothenburg offers an open and tolerant environment that embraces diversity, whether race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. With 25% of its population being born abroad, Gothenburg is an international city open to the world.


Iris Öhrn

Investment Manager

Business Region Gothenburg


iris                          businessregion_blue_cmyk

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