When it comes to the job market, one of Finland’s main concerns currently is the fact that there are not enough high-skilled Finns to fill in the positions that are becoming available. This is a particularly pressing reality in the sectors of technology industries, software developers, automobile manufacturing and the maritime cluster. More than 90,000 professionals are missing, according to the experts.
Finland must urgently face this problem, derived from the fact that the previous generation is retiring or will be soon, but also because even the younger generation is not enough to fill the gap in different areas. So now the country is looking to hire a large number of foreigners to help satisfy that need. And in order to attract them, is even willing to make concessions and change some things.
The main fields that demand workers
The labour shortage is something that Finnish politicians and employers have slowly been realising is a serious issue and are now starting to face it and trying to find solutions for. The information technologies (IT) and tech fields are some of the most struggling areas at the moment, but they are not the only ones: health care and service industries are also in desperate need of professionals.
At the annual gathering of talent attraction professionals in Finland, the Talent Boost Summit of 2018, last November in Tampere, several speakers from the Government were invited to discuss Finland’s employment situation, the tech industry and the need to look internationally for talent in this field.
Among the speakers present, there was Antti Neimala, General Director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment; Laura Juvonen, Executive Director of Technology Industries of Finland; Piia Stranden, Senior Advisor of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) and Sonja Hämäläinen, the Migration Director of the Ministry of Economic Development and Employment.
The future challenges
Some of the topics discussed were: “Diversity and inclusion for the Finnish business”; “Is my company ready for international talents?”, and “Can international talent help to solve the problem?”, among others.
According to Antti Neimala, over 60 thousand job opportunities haven’t been opened in Finland, in the last quarter of 2018 alone, because of labour shortage. “It is one of the big problems we have in Finland today”, he said.
He stated that Finland will need about 53,000 new technology experts by 2021, about 10,000 new software developers in the next 4 years and over 30,000 workers and experts for maritime cluster and car manufacturing in South west Finland, to be able to create more growth internationally for Finnish businesses.
One of the points made by Neimala was that in the “Made by Finland survey, it was found that a clear weakness of the Finnish working life is the lack of utilisation of strengths of employees with different cultural backgrounds”.
Concessions to be made
Obviously, Finnish Government and employers want to continue to have one of the biggest and most competitive industries in the world and they are now accepting the fact that hiring foreigners and providing the conditions for them to want to move to Finland have to be taken seriously and concessions have to be made.
One of the biggest issues regarding this is the language. Finnish is one of the hardest languages to learn and it takes a while until one can speak it fluently or on a native level. That is one of the biggest reasons why many competent professionals, in different fields, do not want to come to Finland in the first place.
Another one is bureaucracy and family conditions they face upon arrival.
According to Neimala, some of the solutions should be:
- Residence permits for experts in a few days.
- Smoother migration process and relocation.
- Official services related to moving in English.
- Focus on spouses.
- Housing, day-care and schools available.
- And a more open and welcoming society.
Ultimately, the objective is to create an even more competitive and stable economy, that attracts not only foreign talent, but international businesses to Finland, making both not only wanting to come but actually stay in the long run.