The Labour Market in Finland
Current Climate: July 2017 figures, and outlook for 4th Quarter 2017
The Finnish labour market shows positive signs across the board. Employers indicate the strongest hiring intentions in five years. Unemployment has fallen, including the amount of people in long-term and disguised unemployment, and among the highly educated. Payroll increases are anticipated in all four regions, and all 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 July 2017 reports the number of unemployed persons was 207,000, which was 6,000 lower than July 2016. The unemployment rate was 7.5%, down from 7.8% in July 2016.
Disguised Unemployment: The amount of people who, primarily, would like to work but have abandoned the search for work, decreased. In July 2017 the number was 132,000, a 20.4% decrease on the figure of 165,000 for July 2016.
Source: Statistics Finland 2017
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin for July 2017 reported 329,000 unemployed jobseekers in July 2017, 49,400 less than a year earlier. They accounted for 12.5% of the labour force, which is 1.9% less than a year before.
Long-term Unemployment: The Ministry's figures show 106,100 people out of work for a year or more, a decrease of 21,000 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 23% on July 2016. Decreases were also substantial at the lowest level of tertiary education (14%), lowerdegree level tertiary education (13%) and upper secondary level of education (13%). Encouragingly, and contrary to recent years, unemployment is also falling among those with higher education, including doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education.
Unemployed Foreigners: The Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 37,200. This figure is down 3,700 from the previous year. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 9,500, down 1,600 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin: July 2017
Alternative Download: VALTO: Institutional Repository for the Government Search Employment Bulletin
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, Fourth Quarter 2017, in which a representative sample of Finnish employers were surveyed about prospects for the upcoming three months. Employers reported the strongest hiring intentions since the Manpower Survey started five years ago.
For the fourth quarter of 2017, 8% of employers surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels, 2% anticipate a decrease and 89% expect no change. This represents a 3% increase in the net employment outlook compared to the previous quarter, and a 6% increase compared to the corresponding quarter 2016.
The survey reports that for the fourth quarter 2017 staffing levels in Finland are expected to increase in 10 out of 10 industry sectors. The strongest labour market is anticipated in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate & Business Services sectors. Regionally, an increase in payrolls is anticipated in all four regions, with strongest growth forecast in 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.
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