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The Labour Market in Finland

Current Climate: 4th Quarter 2016 figures, and outlook for 1st Quarter 2017
The Finnish labour market shows some positive signs for the immediate future, but the amount of people in long-term and disguised unemployment continues to rise. Unemployment is falling for those with basic education, but increasing among the highly educated. On a positive note, the number of people fully laid off over the past year has decreased.

Data Sources: Reported unemployment figures can vary significantly. Unemployment in Finland is monitored through two different monthly statistics; the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment compiles its data from actual jobseekers registered with local employment offices, while Statistics Finland bases its findings on statistical samples.

Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey for December 2016 reports the number of unemployed persons was 207,000, which was 34,000 lower than December 2015 but 3,000 higher than the previous quarter. The unemployment rate was 7.9%, down from 9.2% in December 2015. The December 2016 rate is 0.4% higher than the previous quarter.
Disguised Unemployment: The amount of people who, primarily, would like to work but have abandoned the search for work, increased. In the fourth quarter 2016 the number was 167,000, an increase of 6.4% from the corresponding period in 2015, and 10,000 more than the previous quarter.
Source: Statistics Finland 2017

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin for December 2016 reported 358,100 unemployed jobseekers in December 2016, 19,800 less than a year earlier. The figure is 29,600 higher than the previous month, but the increase is an annual phenomenon largely due to graduations from educational institutions.
Long-term Unemployment: The Ministry's figures show 122,000 people out of work for a year or more, an increase of 3,800 from the year before.
Education Levels: Unemployment decreased compared to a year earlier at most levels of education; the decrease was greatest among those with basic qualifications and lower levels of tertiary education. Unemployment grew only among those with doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education.
Unemployed Foreigners: The Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 35,200. This figure is down 100 from the previous year. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 10,400, down 600 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment  Employment Bulletin: December 2016
Alternative Download: VALTO: Institutional Repository for the Government Search Employment Bulletin

Employment Outlook:
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, First Quarter 2017, in which a representative sample of Finnish employers were surveyed about prospects for the upcoming three months. "Cautious hiring plans" are reported.

For the first quarter of 2017, 8% of employers surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels, 7% anticipate a decrease and 84% expect no change. This represents a 1% increase in the net employment outlook compared to the previous quarter, and a 7% increase compared to the corresponding quarter 2016.

The survey reports that for the first quarter 2017 staffing levels in Finland are expected to increase in 7 of 10 industry sectors. The strongest hiring climate is anticipated in the Construction sector, with positive prospects in the Manufacturing sector and Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector. Regionally, an increase in payrolls is anticipated in all regions, with strongest growth forecast in Southern and Eastern Finland.
Source: ManpowerGroup > Workforce Insights > Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Issues for Foreign Job-Seekers
In this employment climate anyone hoping to find work in Finland has to expect a challenge. Additionally, foreign job-seekers should be prepared to address the following issues:

Finnish Language Skills
The biggest and most important issue for a foreigner is usually language. There are very few jobs where it is possible to work without knowing any Finnish, and for reasons of occupational safety alone it is vital to be able to communicate. Local authorities, universities and and many employers provide immigrants and their families with language training, either free or at very low cost. The level of Finnish skills necessary for a job depends greatly on the nature of the work, but on average six months of intensive language training should provide enough skill in Finnish to get by at the average workplace.
Source: thisisFINLAND

Finland sets great value on vocational training, and statutory (official) qualification requirements exist in many fields and positions. If you intend to work in Finland using a qualification gained outside Finland, it is essential that you check in advance that your foreign qualification is officially accepted in Finland.

What's the Alternative?
If you have the right to do so, starting your own business in Finland is definitely worth considering rather than fighting in an increasingly competitive job market. All you need is motivation and something saleable; the process for establishing a business is easy. Plus, if you are unable to speak Finnish but can speak English or Swedish, the language barrier referred to above is significantly reduced.
See Also: Entrepreneurship and
Becoming an Entrepreneur in Finland PDF