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The Labour Market in Finland

Current Climate: November 2020 figures, and outlook for 1st Quarter 2021
The Finnish labour market is pretty dismal compared to one year earlier, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to November 2019 unemployment increased significantly, including people in long-term unemployment, at all education levels. In November 2020, 58,000 workers were fully laid off - up 43,400 from the previous November. The number of people in disguised unemployment fell, if that can be seen as a "bright spot". For the next quarter, payroll increases are anticipated in 4 of 7 industry sectors and 3 of 4 Finnish regions. However, hiring prospects are far less positive than those one year earlier.

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 2020 reports the number of unemployed persons was 187,000, which was 27,000 more than November 2019. The unemployment rate was 6.9%, up 1.0% from November 2019.
Disguised Unemployment: The amount of people who, primarily, would like to work but have abandoned the search for work, decreased. In November 2020 the number was 117,000, a 5.5% decrease on the figure for November 2019.
Source: Statistics Finland 2021

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin for November 2020 reported 314,500 unemployed jobseekers in November 2020, 86,000 more than a year earlier. They accounted for 12% of the labour force, which is 3.3% more than a year before.
Long-term Unemployment: The Ministry's figures show 85,300 people out of work for a year or more, an increase of 24,200 from the year before.
Education Levels: Unemployment increased at all levels of education. The increase was greatest for those with upper secondary level education and higher. Increases were lowest among those with primary and lower secondary education.
Unemployed Foreigners: The Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 32,300. This figure is up 9,400 from the previous year. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 10,600, up 4,000 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment  Employment Bulletin: November 2020
Alternative Download: VALTO: Institutional Repository for the Government Search Employment Bulletin

Employment Outlook:
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, First Quarter 2021, in which a representative sample of Finnish employers were surveyed about prospects for the upcoming three months. Interviewing was carried out during the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, and findings reflect the impact of the global health emergency.

Finnish employers report subdued hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2021. With 9% of employers forecasting an increase in payrolls, 10% anticipating a decrease and 78% expecting no change, the resulting Net Employment Outlook is -1%. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the Outlook stands at +3%. Hiring sentiment strengthens by 2% compared with the previous quarter, but is 6% weaker compared to one year previously.

First Quarter 2021 staffing levels are expected to increase in 4 out of 7 industry sectors compared to the previous quarter. The strongest labour markets are anticipated in the Restaurants & Hotels sector and Manufacturing sector. Regionally, an increase in payrolls is anticipated three of four regions, with Northern Finland and Southern Finland anticipating the strongest growth with net employment outlooks of +10% and +8% respectively. In Western Finland the outlook is +1% and in Eastern Finland the outlook is 0%. Compared with one year previously, however, the employment outlook is negative in three of four regions with only Northern Finland being positive at +5%.
Source: ManpowerGroup > Country & Territory Insights

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

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