Many regions’ growth and vitality depend on external workforce


The need for foreign labour will grow in Finland in the coming years. There are various services available for employers to support international recruitment. At best, hiring foreign employees can give workplaces new practices that benefit the entire work community.

There is strong competition for workforce between the different regions of Finland, and it will only accelerate as we approach the 2030s.

“At the moment, Finland is facing an unusual situation that there are fewer people who are born than people who die. Natural population growth has been negative for a long time, with no change in sight. The economy is currently on a downwards trend, but this decline does not concern all sectors. There are also signs that the economy will start to recover in the coming years. When the economic upturn begins, the need for workforce in different regions may grow so much that there might not be enough employees for everyone. In that case, we have to find workforce from somewhere else”, says Talent Boost Coordinator Vilppu Palmberg from the ELY Centre for Southwest Finland.

Regions will have to look for solutions to labour shortages from other parts of Finland and abroad. In some cities, the situation already looks good.

“About 4,000 new people moved to Turku in 2023, and two thirds of them arrived from other countries. This is excellent because there is a great need for workers in our region. Growth and vitality in Turku are entirely dependent on people moving to the city from elsewhere, and the situation is the same in all large cities. The dependence on migration is the strongest in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area”, says Elina Rantanen, Deputy Mayor at the City of Turku, adding that, according to forecasts, about 6500 new experts will be needed in Southwest Finland each year when taking into account the growing number of employed people and the number of people retiring.

There is a particular need for workforce in the industrial and service sectors and the social welfare and health care sector. The situation is currently bad for the construction and real estate sector, but it is predicted that the demand for experts will be the largest by far in these sectors in the coming years.

Services and training to support international recruitment

If you are an employer and interested in hiring foreign employees, you can get support for recruitment from various services and training provided by parties such as TE Services, municipal employment services and educational institutions.

The IMAGO coaching programmes organised by TE Services offer employers advice on what makes a company a desirable workplace. The coaching programme includes skills that a company can use to set itself apart in the labour market, attract the right kind of experts and build a diverse corporate culture.

If your company has hired experts from abroad and their Finnish or Swedish skills require improvement, you may be interested in the Workplace Finnish or Workplace Swedish service offered by providers acquired by the ELY Centre. The language classes can be tailored to your company’s needs, for example by adjusting the duration of the course. The classes can be taught either at the workplace or remotely. The employer only pays for part of the course.

The TE Offices’ EURES advisers can offer many kinds of help for recruiting experts to Finland from abroad. For example, the advisers can help find out what subsidies are available to a person who moves to Finland for a job.

“EURES is a European employment service network celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. If employers are hiring people from EU or EEA countries, where free movement is guaranteed, we offer help with the recruitment free of charge because we are a public service. There are approximately 1,000 EURES advisers across Europe in 31 countries, and the EURES advisers from different countries cooperate with each other”, says EURES adviser Tomi Puranen from the TE Office of Southwest Finland.

EURES is involved in the national European Job Day event organised online on 20 March by Finland Works. For the event, employers can open job advertisements on an online platform, meet jobseekers in a chat service and receive job applications. Every year, between 2000 and 3000 jobseekers from around the world participate in the four-hour event.

The purpose of the EURES Targeted Mobility Scheme is to facilitate the recruitment of experts from EU countries, Norway and Iceland. The programme offers targeted support to jobseekers and companies in matters related to employment, traineeships and apprenticeships. The programme can also provide financial support to cover things like language courses, travel and subsistence expenses, and getting qualifications recognised.

It is also useful for employers to know that EURES participates in various recruitment events across Europe.

“In February and March, we’ll be at the Job Day fair in Sardinia. In April, there is the Emigration Expo in the Netherlands, where we’ll participate with the Finland Works department. In April, there will also be an expo in Hungary and Spain. I would like Finnish employers to know that we can promote any open positions they have by bringing their job advertisements to these kinds of events”, Puranen says.

Towards an international work community

Workforce coming from abroad may require certain kinds of arrangements at workplaces.

“Arrangements could for example include new kinds of orientation, because the new employees may not necessarily speak Finnish, or some Finnish workplace practices may take getting used to. This could result in workplaces creating new practices that can, at best, benefit all the employees of a company. For example, plain Finnish can be useful for everyone, for instance when learning about legislation, because reading Finnish legal text is not easy even if you were born in Finland”, says Talent Boost Coordinator Vilppu Palmberg.

Palmberg encourages employers to take an open-minded approach to international recruitment and use the services meant for this purpose.

“I would recommend for companies to take students from abroad as trainees. It is an easy way to get to know new people and learn what everyday life is like in an international work community. This allows employers to find people who are a good fit for their company. It often also happens that when an employer hires one expert from abroad, they will soon want to hire more, which allows the entire work community to gradually get used to an international atmosphere. I would encourage all employers to try international recruitment. I would also like to remind that, as the demand for workforce is likely to pick up again in a couple of years, foreign jobseekers will probably make up the majority of available experts.”

Talks on international recruitment were given at Job Fair Turku on 7 February.

You can get general advice on matters related to international recruitment and work-related immigration from Work in Finland – employer advisory services for international recruitment.

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