The Finns are hungry for Indian IT and maritime talent. They are ready to double skilled immigrant uptake to 20,000-30,000 per year.
Finland, dubbed the happiest country in the world, is facing an acute shortage of manpower. Finland scores high in terms of quality of life, freedom, gender equality, with minimal corruption, crime and pollution.
But despite being named the happiest place in the world for the fourth year running (2021) in the annual World Happiness Report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Finland is unable to attract skilled immigrants.
With support from the government, Finland’s recruiters now seek to attract IT and maritime professionals from India, Russia and South-east Asia, as well as health workers from Spain, and metalworkers from Slovakia.
Finland, which has a population of 5.5 million, has the second highest senior citizen population after Japan, AFP had reported.
The Finland government is encouraging recruiters and supporting global talent boost programmes to address the issue of a greying generation.
Finland is fighting a weak population growth, with a high age-old dependency ratio of 39.2 per 100 people aged 65-plus years, the UN said, adding that by 2030 this will rise to 47.5 per 100.
The Finland government is now ready to allow 20,000-30,000 immigrants every year (twice what it allows at present) to maintain public services and plug a looming pensions deficit.
Finland faces the largest skilled worker shortage amongst member countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
Many immigrants have left Finland in the last 10 years due to problems like a complex local language, cold climate, an ultra-high standard of living and difficulties in finding jobs for spouses, among others. Even highly educated and skilled immigrants have left the country for those reasons.
Many skilled applicants complain of Finnish employers’ reluctance to recognise international experience, expertise and qualifications, while others talk about prejudice and lack of friendliness.
The Academy of Finland has been highlighting the greying problem to the government through its research.
Finland faces resistance to immigrants, with citizen groups reluctant to employ outsiders. The extreme Right Finns Party has a lot of political support. But now the locals are changing their mindsets. Certain Finnish start-ups are starting joint career websites and platforms to attract international talent to Helsinki.
Helsinki mayor Jan Vaaavuori admitted that Finland being voted the world's happiest country in a UN ranking four years ago has not helped matters as much as they had hoped. The mayor pointed out that Helsinki's strengths such as "safe, functional, reliable, predictable" should help to attract global talent in a post-pandemic world.
Finland's defence forces are encouraging more women to join military service after a record breaking 1,675 women applied for voluntary service in 2021.
In March 2021, Finnish company Nokia announced that it will reduce its global headcount by 5,000-10,000 in the coming year or two, but intends to continue adding to its team of professionals developing 5G technologies in Finland.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)