Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Call for 2,500 Folks

There are various European countries where I follow the news and happenings.  This morning I came across this one business-related story for Iceland.

Most people don't realize that Iceland functions with roughly 340,000 people (total).  Basically, it's the size of Corpus Christi, Texas.

A study was conducted in Iceland toward the end of 2016, and published in the past week or two.  The topic?  Well....they looked at retirements, tourism growth, industry momentum, and have come to this conclusion....they need a minimum of 2,500 to 4,000 new folks to come and live in Iceland....and to take up work (just sitting around or waiting isn't acceptable).

The Minister of Social Affairs noted in some speech or talk recently, that Iceland is becoming a "land of immigration".  We aren't talking about thousands of folks sending in applications or asking to come into Iceland....just that there's a entry door and hundreds of applications are sent on a yearly basis now.

I've spent a week in Iceland this past year and have a pretty good idea of how things are situated.  Frankly, if you laid out the Viking mentality, taxation, cold winters, Icelandic humor, vast nature of the landscape, the glaciers, the 23.5 hours of sunshine per summer day, the 23.5 hours of darkness per winter evening, and general social life....90-percent of folks would pack up and leave after twelve months.  That's my humble opinion.

Me?  I'd actually be charmed by the country, the Viking mentality, rugged territory, and the humor.  I will admit the 23.5 hours of sunshine a day would mess me up, and growing nature of tourism might be a negative.

How to talk 2,500 new folks into coming to Iceland....rather quickly?  I'd suggest some humble Icelandic folks as HR folks and drill down into the three key selling points. First, you don't really ever need to worry about crime.  There aren't any Icelandic thugs hanging around Reykjavik or Grindavik....or meth dealers hanging around the N1 gas station in Grindavik.  Second, folks are awful nice, humble and smiley-faced in the point that you might think they are doped up on something or have consumed a fair amount of alcohol.  Third, stress and chaos are things that haven't been introduced into Iceland yet.  Oh, there's snow to shovel, and potholes which need to be repaired....but the stress you might find in Berlin or Nashville....just doesn't exist.

What the trend on these jobs for the 2,500 might be?  Well....bluntly.....tourism.  They need bus-drivers, tour guides, and fun-people (folks to operate quad-bike rental operations, do glacier hiker operations, etc).  To be kinda honest, you don't need a big craftsman certificate, or university just need to be honest, friendly, pro-tourist, and maybe able to fake folks out thinking that you've lived in Iceland all your life.

No one says much about training for these jobs.  I'd take a guess that they have a list of the 100 typical questions that tourists ask (typically American) does the sun ever go down in July?  Or, does the wind always blow like this?

Will they find the 2,500 to 4,000 folks?  It's hard to say.  I'd question how housing will be handled and they are on some housing agenda project for the newcomers. I'd also question the language program and how quickly you can get folks hyped on a thousand words of Icelandic, and the adjustment to the 23.5 hours of sunshine per day in July.

If I were consulting with Iceland on this matter....I'd suggest they need to look for people who are up for a challenge and looking for a bit of adventure.  It'd be like recruiting for US Marines....I'd be looking for a few good people who want to go off to the ends of the Earth, drink beer with viking legends or almost-legends, and do some tourism-related stuff for some crazy people.   This wouldn't be some wussy-job or a place to kick back and just mow grass.  You'd be on the cutting edge of rebirth of the Viking age....joining with the greatest team that ever swung a sword, or held a beer.

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