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HomeFinlandRecruitment Firm: Finland's Labour Shortage Easing, but Likely Temporarily

Recruitment Firm: Finland’s Labour Shortage Easing, but Likely Temporarily

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Finland’s labour shortage is showing signs of easing, according to a survey by staffing company Barona. The findings showed that the number of companies that struggle with recruitment in Finland has fallen to the lowest level in three years.

According to Barona, half of the firms that responded to a similar poll in 2021 reported experiencing a labour shortage, while even more (55%) companies reported having those struggles last year.

This year, however, that proportion dropped to 41 percent.

Barona vice president Elina Koskela told Yle that while the shift was promising, it is most likely temporary.

“According to our estimation, this is just a temporary phase of the cycle,” she said.

One-third of the 500 companies that took part in the survey also reported a need for their labour force to grow during the coming year.

The ease of the labour shortage nationwide was also reflected in results of a similar survey by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), the main business lobby.

The EK survey also found that the shortage of skilled labour was the most common problem hampering company growth. Roughly a quarter of firms reported experiencing the issue in that survey.

More workers needed as economy picks up

Meanwhile, Koskela said that firms are likely to face bigger issues with labour shortages towards the end of the year when the economy typically picks up.

Koskela, who is responsible for international recruitment, added that foreign labour will be key in facilitating economic growth.

“Our dependency ratio is deteriorating and we inevitably need more people who commit to working and living their lives here in the longer term, not just on a project basis.”

Barona’s survey also looked into the challenges firms face regarding the employment of foreign workers. Language skills were by far the most pressing challenge raised by recruiters.

According to Koskela, many companies find the use of English in everyday life “somewhat difficult”. In practice, this could mean translating various instructions into English, but also everyday interactions.

“It would also mean using English during coffee and lunch breaks, and that can sometimes feel like a pretty high threshold,” she said.

However, Koskela said that language skills are gradually being perceived as less of an issue.

“In practice, the shift in attitude can be seen in the fact that people still talk about language skills, but it no longer necessarily as an obstacle but a challenge to be solved.”

PM Petteri Orpo‘s NCP-led government has put forward plans to tighten immigration and introduce, for example, measures such as cancelling work-based residence permits after three months of unemployment.

Around 59 percent of the companies that responded to Barona’s survey said they think the government’s planned policies won’t limit their abilities to address labour shortages.

Koskela said the country still remains popular with jobseekers from abroad, despite racism-related headlines coming from Finland appearing in international media — at least for the time being.

“We receive a good number of applications. There are no actual signs yet that the willingness to come to Finland has decreased. But we need to monitor the situation very closely.”

Source: Yle

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