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The Labour Market in Finland

Current Climate: 3rd Quarter 2016
The Finnish labour market shows some positive signs for the immediate future, but the amount of long-term unemployed and people in disguised unemployment continues to rise. Prospects are best for those with basic education, while unemployment among the highly educated is increasing.

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 July 2016 reports the number of unemployed persons was 214,000, which was 18,000 lower than July 2015 and 50,000 lower than the previous quarter. The unemployment rate was 7.8%, down from 8.4% in July 2015. The July 2016 rate is 2.0% lower than the previous quarter.

People in 'disguised unemployment' (persons who would like to work but have abandoned the search for work) increased. In July 2016 the number was 165,000, an increase of 15.3% from the corresponding period in 2015, and 33,000 more than the previous quarter.
Source: Statistics Finland 2016

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment reports 378,400 unemployed jobseekers in July 2016. This is 12,300 higher than the previous month but 3,200 less than the same time last year. Unemployment fell for those with basic qualifications and the lowest level of tertiary education. Unemployment rose for those with higher education: 5% for doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education, 3% for lower­degree level tertiary education, and 2% for higher­degree level tertiary education. The Ministry's figures show 127,200 people out of work for a year or more, an increase of about 12.5% since July 2015.

Unemployed Foreigners: the Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 41,000. This figure is up 1,00 from July a year ago. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 11,100 at the end of July, up 200 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment  Employment Bulletin: July 2016

Employment Outlook:
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, Third Quarter 2016, in which a representative sample of Finnish employers were surveyed about prospects for the upcoming three months. "Encouraging signs" are reported.

For the third quarter of 2016, 13% of employers surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels, 5% anticipate a decrease and 81% expect no change. This represents a 3% jump in the net employment outlook compared to the previous quarter. However, it is a 3% decline compared to the corresponding quarter 2015.

The survey reports that for the third quarter 2016 staffing levels in Finland are expected to increase in 8 of 10 industry sectors. The strongest hiring climate is anticipated in the Public and Social sector, with positive prospects in the Mining and Quarrying, and Manufacturing sectors. Regionally, an increase in payrolls is anticipated in Eastern, Southern and Western Finland, with a decrease forecast in Northern Finland.
Source: ManpowerGroup > Thought Leadership > 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