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ECHA Finds Experts Unwilling To Move to Finland

The European Chemicals Agency is finding it difficult to persuade candidates for employment to move to Helsinki. Experts living in other European countries do not want to move to Finland.

Euroopan kemikaaliviraston sisäänkäynti. Kaksi lasillista ovea, joihin on teipattu ECHAn logo.
EU:n kemikaalivirasto sijaitsee Helsingissä Annankadulla. Image: YLE

The ECHA moved to Finland in 2007. With 450 employees, the agency needs another 100 workers by the end of 2012 due to increasing responsibilities.

"We’re doing everything we can to bring the right people with the right knowhow here,” said Geert Dancet, ECHA’s Executive Director.

The agency faces stiff competition for new talent. There have been plenty of applicants for open positions, but according to Dancet nearly a third of those offered jobs decline because they do not want to live in Helsinki.

“They change their minds because Helsinki is so far away from their homes,” continued Dancet. “Highly-educated non-Finnish speaking spouses also face difficulty in finding work in Finland, which is also a factor.”

The Finnish proportion is already big

Right now a third of the agency’s workers are Finnish. The next biggest national group, at 7 percent, is composed of Germans. In all there are workers from 26 countries. According to Dancet, the agency does not want the number of Finns to grow too much.

“We want the whole of Europe to be represented at the agency,” said Dancet. “We don’t want to have any departments where there are only Finns.”

Necessity may force the agency to hire people with less experience or to over-burden those that are already working there, says Dancet.

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