Finland is known as the happiest nation on the planet. Its living standards are on top of world rankings. One reality the country is facing now though is an acute shortage of skilled workers. They need foreign workers who are ready to work overseas and more so, work in Finland.
Finland is also seeking foreign workers to fill the gap created by an aging population and lesser youngsters in the labor market. Finland is also battling the menace of weak growth in population. Without roping in people ready to work overseas and come to Finland, the country is going to face this issue acutely.
In Finland, the ratio of individuals aged over 65 is 39.2 per 100 working-age people. This ratio is second only to Japan which is known for its aging population crisis. The UN forecasts that by 2030 the “old-age dependency ratio” will increase to 47.5.
The Government of Finland understands that the nation, with a population of 5.5 million, requires to double its levels of immigration to 20,000 to 30,000 annually. This will maintain the public services and a looming deficit in pensions can be met.
Indeed, Finland scores high in quality of life when other nations are compared. The country also ranks quite high on gender equality and freedom. The country also has little crime, corruption, and pollution.
However, the country is known to harbor an anti-immigrant sentiment. Finland has been reluctant to offer work to foreigners.
Now that this attitude is creating a backlash, risking the growth of the country, the businesses and government are finally learning some important lessons.
Finland’s 4-year-old “Talent Boost” program, aims to improve the country’s appeal internationally, partially via local recruitment schemes.
The targeted candidates include:
- health workers from Spain
- metalworkers from Slovakia
- IT as well as maritime experts from India, Russia, and Southeast Asia
The Talent Boost program is unlike the efforts made previously and they haven’t been very successful. In 2013, 5 of the 8 nurses recruited from Spain left after a few months. They cited Finland’s cold weather, complex language, and exorbitant prices as the reasons.
Finland’s immigration status
The net immigration of Finland in 2019 had around 15,000 more people arriving in the country. Though the number of people leaving the country is lower, those leaving happen to be people with higher education.
To cope with the huge shortage of skilled workers, some start-ups in Finland are coming up with a joint careers site so that they can attract overseas talent ready to work overseas better.
Though start-ups are welcoming new foreign candidates, they are preferring singles. To add to the issues, there are a number of foreigners who have complains that the country has apparent widespread reluctance to recognize qualifications or experience gained overseas. Also, prejudice against applicants who are non-Finnish is also a lingering problem.
But labor shortages are forcing Finnish companies to accept non-Finnish workers also.
Finland possesses its strengths of being functional, safe, predictable, and reliable. It won’t be an overstatement that Finland’s position after the pandemic is better than it was before.
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