The Labour Market in Finland
Current Climate: November 2018 figures, and outlook for 1st Quarter 2019
The Finnish labour market shows positive signs in almost every respect. Unemployment has fallen, including the amount of people in long-term and disguised unemployment, and at all education levels. Payroll increases are anticipated in three of four Finnish regions, and 9 of 10 industry sectors.
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 November 2018 reports the number of unemployed persons was 168,000, which was 22,000 fewer than November 2017. The unemployment rate was 6.2%, down from 7.1% in November 2017.
Disguised Unemployment: The amount of people who, primarily, would like to work but have abandoned the search for work, decreased. In November 2018 the number was 134,000, a 7.3% decrease on the figure for November 2017.
Source: Statistics Finland 2019
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin for November 2018 reported 229,400 unemployed jobseekers in Nopvember 2018, 41,900 less than a year earlier. They accounted for 8.7% of the labour force, which is 1.6% less than a year before.
Long-term Unemployment: The Ministry's figures show 66,300 people out of work for a year or more, a decrease of 25,500 from the year before.
Education Levels: Unemployment decreased at all levels of education. The decrease was greatest among those with lower level basic qualifications, down 28% on November 2017. Decreases were also substantial among those with doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education (-16%), lowest level of tertiary education (-18%) and lower-degree level of tertiary education (-16%).
Unemployed Foreigners: The Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 22,800. This figure is down 3,400 from the previous year. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 6,800, down 1,000 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin: November 2018
Alternative Download: VALTO: Institutional Repository for the Government Search Employment Bulletin
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, First Quarter 2019, in which a representative sample of Finnish employers were surveyed about prospects for the upcoming three months. Adjusted for seasonal variation, employers reported the strongest hiring intentions since the Manpower Survey started six years ago.
Finnish employers report uncertain hiring prospects for the next three months, with 7% of employers forecasting an increase in payrolls, 8% expecting a decrease and 85% anticipating no change. The net employment outlook, adjusted for seasonal variation, stands at 7%. Hiring prospects remain relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, but decline by 2 percentage points compared with this time one year ago.
First Quarter 2019 staffing levels are expected to increase in 7 out of 10 industry sectors. The strongest labour market is anticipated in the Manufacturing sector. Regionally, an increase in payrolls is anticipated in all four regions, with Eastern Finland anticipating the strongest growth with a net employment outlook of +5%. Hiring intentions weaken in all four regions when compared with the previous quarter.
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.
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