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The Labour Market in Finland

Current Climate: November 2017 figures, and outlook for 1st Quarter 2018
The Finnish labour market shows positive signs, although employers' hiring intentions for the First Quarter 2018 are less positive than the previous quarter. Unemployment has fallen, including the amount of people in long-term and disguised unemployment, and among the highly educated. Payroll increases are anticipated in two of four Finnish regions, and 8 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 2017 reports the number of unemployed persons was 190,000, which was 23,000 lower than November 2016. The unemployment rate was 7.1%, down from 8.1% in November 2016.
Disguised Unemployment: The amount of people who, primarily, would like to work but have abandoned the search for work, decreased. In November 2017 the number was 144,000, a 12.9% decrease on the figure of 166,000 for November 2016.
Source: Statistics Finland 2018

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Employment Bulletin for November 2017 reported 271,300 unemployed jobseekers in November 2017, 57,200 less than a year earlier. They accounted for 10.3% of the labour force, which is 2.2% less than a year before.
Long-term Unemployment: The Ministry's figures show 91,800 people out of work for a year or more, a decrease of 29,700 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 2016. Decreases were also substantial among those with lower level basic qualifications (­28%), higher­degree level tertiary education (­20%), lowest level of tertiary education (­19%), and lower­degree level tertiary education (­18%). Encouragingly, unemployment also continued to fall among those with higher education, including doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education (­18%).
Unemployed Foreigners: The Ministry reports that among unemployed jobseekers, foreign citizens totalled 26,200. This figure is down 4,600 from the previous year. Of the foreign unemployed jobseekers, EU/EEA citizens accounted for 7,900, down 1,600 from the year before.
Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment  Employment Bulletin: November 2017
Alternative Download: VALTO: Institutional Repository for the Government Search Employment Bulletin

Employment Outlook:
ManpowerGroup has conducted its Employment Outlook Survey for Finland, First Quarter 2018, 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, matching those of the previous quarter.

Finnish employers report modest hiring prospects for the next three months, with 10% of employers expecting to increase staffing levels, 6% anticipating a decrease and 79% forecasting no change. Hiring intentions are unchanged compared to the previous quarter. The net employment outlook improves by 3% in comparison with Q1 2017.

First Quarter 2018 staffing levels are expected to increase in 8 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 Southern Finland and Eastern Finland. Northern Finland anticipates a quiet labour market, and an outlook of -3% reported in Western Finland reflects muted hiring intentions. Compared with the previous quarter, hiring prospects weaken in three of the four regions.
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

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