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Nokia in Finland: A giant becomes a weight watcher

At the peak of Nokia’s corporate fortunes in 2000, the cellphone maker boasted a payroll strength of over 24,000 employees in Finland. At the beginning of June this year, that portly figure had shrunk to a slim frame of 15,900 including 9,100 persons employed by the parent company. Across the globe, Nokia personnel levels stopped growing after 2010.

The chart shows how Nokia's personnel levels have changed over the years. Image: Juha Kiiskinen / Yle

Human resources at the mobile phone giant at the turn of the century topped 60,000 persons worldwide, of whom 24,000 were on the payroll in Finland.

Following the burst of the IT sector bubble, the first signs of downsizing were evident but to a lesser extent in Finland than in other countries.

Nokia and Siemens Networks joined forces in 2007 to form Nokia Siemens Networks. At a stroke, Nokia’s personnel grew by around 40,000.

Payroll strength increased worldwide until 2010. In Finland, the first redundancies were announced in 2006 but only in the past three years has the process greatly accelerated.

At the beginning of June, Nokia employed 15,900 persons, of whom 6,800 are based at Nokia Siemens Networks and 9,100 with the parent company.

Glory days gone

After an uneasy start in the eighties and early nineties, Nokia took off with vengeance to become the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones in 1998. The peak of capital fortunes was attained in 2001 when the company’s individual share value stood at over 65 euros. At that time Nokia accounted for four percent of national GDP and contributed over a billion euros into state tax coffers annually.   

Currently, Nokia’s share of Finland’s GDP is around half a percent with taxes paid only in the tens of millions.