New figures published in a report today by Odense Robotics show that the robotic and automation cluster in and around Odense is growing faster than expected – and can expect strong growth in the future.
The size of the workforce now totals 3,200 people, a figure companies had expected to reach in 2020. In addition, the cluster has grown to 120 companies, with a high proportion of young companies and startups.
The new figures are published today in the report ‘Leading the industrial revolution’ by Odense Robotics, the first of its kind to compile in-depth data on the cluster’s development. The report is primarily based on responses from companies in the cluster in an annual survey and comes in response to increasing interest in the cluster’s regional, national and international significance.
“The figures in this report speak for themselves. The cluster of robot and automation companies in and around Odense is growing – faster than expected. And with significant untapped potential. Given the rapid growth, the high number of new companies and a booming global market, I am sure that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as growth is concerned,” says Mikkel Christoffersen, Business Manager, Odense Robotics.
Untapped growth potential
The growth potential is highlighted by the increase in the number of new companies and the untapped export potential. A total of 43% of companies in the cluster have been established after 2010. A 50% of companies export, a figure that increases, the bigger the company. 53% of companies collaborate with educational institutions, a figure that increases to two thirds amongst small companies. And more than two thirds of companies say that being located in the Odense area gives their business a competitive advantage.
“These impressive new figures show that we are doing something right when it comes to the collaboration between businesses, research, education and municipalities facilitated by Udvikling Fyn. The robot cluster is growing so quickly that we constantly need to set new goals, because we reach them quicker than expected. My ambition is that we house the world’s leading cluster for development, production and application of robots,” says Odense’s mayor Peter Rahbæk Juel.
Talent still biggest barrier
Almost 90% of employees reside on Funen, with 10% commuting from elsewhere in Denmark or abroad. And the cluster offers a wide range of job opportunities; 42% of employees have a vocational background and 40% have a university or college background.
However, finding qualified employees continues to be the biggest barrier to growth: 78% of companies respond that this is a significant issue.
“This common challenge needs a joint effort and companies have a responsibility to join forces to solve the issue. We need people with a wide range of competences, particularly experienced developers, people with a technical background and craftsmen. I hope that companies will increase their focus this year on young talent and start taking more apprentices, so we continually build our future workforce,” says Henrik Anker, chairman for Odense Robotics advisory board and CEO in Gibotech A/S.
Connecting the cluster and bringing together companies, municipalities, organisations and education institutions lies at the heart of Odense Robotics’ efforts. A talent attraction campaign, an upskilling programme, branding at a global e-sport event are just some of the initiatives from Odense Robotics this year that aim to address recruitment.