The hospitality sector’s rapid growers

Results from the project

Are unemployed immigrants more likely to be hired by high-growth firms?

Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, Associate Professor of Economics, HUI Research

What is the research project about?
“The Swedish hospitality sector’s goal is to double its growth over ten years. In order to achieve this, it is vital to know more about where and how this growth will take place. Rapidly growing companies generally play a major role when it comes to creating growth and new jobs – we know this from several studies, for example within manufacturing and high-tech industries. However, service sectors have not been studied previously. We believe that the rapidly growing companies in the hospitality sector are also of considerable importance as regards growth, and we intend to investigate whether this is the case. We will also study which companies are growing – are they the large or small companies, the new or the older ones – and why they are choosing to grow.

“We will also investigate whether the rapidly growing companies in the hospitality sector represent a route into the labour market for groups that otherwise have difficulty accessing it. We have previously carried out studies which demonstrate that rapidly growing companies generally employ immigrants to a greater extent than others. It is feasible that this effect is even greater for the hospitality sector.”

What is a rapidly growing company?
“We define this as the percentage of companies that have the greatest growth (in terms of number of employees or turnover) of all those within their sector over a certain period of time, usually three years.”

How will you proceed?
“We will study and analyse data and statistics included in the PAR register and at Statistics Sweden, for example. From an international perspective, Sweden maintains unique statistics about companies and sectors, and we can follow these over an extended period. This analysis will then be supplemented with interviews and questionnaires.”

How can the hospitality sector benefit from this research?
“We hope that our results will be able to contribute to increased growth. The hospitality sector has difficulty obtaining state investments, such as aid money and research funds. Such funding is often provided to high-tech companies, which are believed to be the most important when it comes to driving developments and creating jobs – success is often measured in terms of investments in research and development as well as patents. However, my educated guess is that this picture and the measurement method are often incorrect. For example, there are also many innovations within the hospitality sector, although these normally do not result in patents. With increased knowledge about the rapid growers, I hope that we can demonstrate how the companies and the sector are important for the Swedish economy and, as a consequence of this, perhaps influence the formulation of a business policy that stimulates entrepreneurship and supports the growth of the hospitality sector’s companies in the right way.”

What is the main challenge?
“If I had never been involved in this type of research before, I would have said the data processing work, as there are extremely large volumes of data to handle. However, we are used to working with the databases. The challenge lies more in disseminating the results, on a political level, within the research community, in the sector and to the general public. For the research project itself, it is important to achieve dissemination within the academic world, such as in scientific journals. The hospitality sector is a relatively new commercial branch, so it is difficult to know how much interest there is, yet I believe that we can reach out with articles of a high level of scientific quality. When it comes to the sector, we have good contacts and networks through bodies such as HUI, although reaching out more widely will be a challenge here.”

Describe yourself in brief
“I am an Associate Professor of Economics, gaining my Ph.D in 2001. I am employed at HUI Research and work as a lecturer at Dalarna University. I work extensively within economics, and am one of Sweden’s most experienced economists on matters relating to trade. In recent years, my research has been targeted at business development, corporate growth and entrepreneurship.

Project facts


The hospitality sector’s rapid growers

Research organization

HUI Research

Project Manager

Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, Associate Professor of Economics


Anders Bornhäll, doctoral student at Örebro University, and Dan Johansson, Associate Professor at HUI


2013 Jan – 2014 Dec


SEK 1,500,000

Läs om projektet på svenska »


Sven-Olov Daunfeldt


Foto: HUI


Anders Bornhäll


Foto: HUI


Dan Johansson


Foto: HUI