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As many as 30,000 "invisible" unemployed in Finland

Every month tens of thousands of jobseekers give up the search for work this year, frustrated at their prospects of ever finding gainful employment. According to Statistics Finland the reasons the "invisible" unemployed have given up the job hunt include aging out of their professions or even being too bashful.

Ihmisiä kadulla.
As many as 30,000 "invisible" unemployed have given up the job hunt in Finland. Image: Yle

Yle reviewed combined figures from Statistics Finland and found that every month this year 30,000 jobseekers abandoned the search for work. The phenomenon isn’t new, but the number of unemployed who are opting out of the workforce is growing.

Officials now speak of the “invisible” unemployed, or those who’d like to find work, but haven’t actively looked for employment over a period of four weeks. Back in 2011, the invisible unemployed averaged up to 91,000 monthly. In 2012, their numbers grew to an average of 96,000 monthly. This year between April and June this group exploded to reach 103,000.

Research by Statistics Finland revealed that about one-third of that number isn’t out job hunting, because they simply don’t believe they’ll get lucky in the current economic circumstances.

“If I just stay at home and don’t look for a job no one will come to offer me one,” said job hunter Joonas Helavirta, who himself became discouraged with his so-far fruitless search for work.

Recessions difficult for introverts, over-55s, youth

Hanko resident Stacy Siivonen has been out of work for the past two years. During good times she had lots of work, but nowadays the self-confessed introvert can barely make it to the interview stage. This year many jobseekers have remained on the sidelines because they don’t have the confidence to go out and look for work.

The reasons for long-term unemployment are many, and include factors such as training or location. Not even experience the trendy IT sector offers any guarantee of finding work.

According to Sini Heino-Mouhu of the Malmi job center, if jobseekers can’t manage interviews because of shyness or because they don’t fit the picture of the ideal employee that many employers have, then finding a job becomes even more difficult.

Hieno-Mouhu works to help individuals who can’t easily find employment on the open market. She has observed two groups who face obstacles in finding gainful employment. She said that there are many over-55 year olds who have worked in the IT sector. Over the years, technological development has accelerated, resulting in an invasion of much younger tech workers who then displace the old guard.

The other group is young jobseekers.

“Particularly vocational school applicants are very young and need to think about their future careers,” she said.

“Maybe young people are choosing the wrong field. Perhaps they notice this while they are studying. Anyway the studies don’t flow if motivation isn’t in place. They don’t have good grades. These individuals don’t get jobs, even if there is work that matches their training. You don’t get work, if you aren’t up to the job,” she concluded.

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