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Finland's employment rate hits 72.8% as lobby group warns of skilled labour shortages

Finland's employment rate of 72.8 percent in August was the highest level since the pandemic began.

Kaksi henkilöä töissä.
There were 44,000 more employed men and 59,000 more employed women last month compared to August 2020. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Finland's employment rate trend rose to 72.8 percent in August, according to Statistics Finland's latest Labour Force Survey, with 104,000 more people in employment compared to the same month last year.

This is a very slight improvement on the numbers from July, when the rate hit 72.7 percent. That was then the highest level since February 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic first began to impact the Finnish economy.

The latest increase equated to 59,000 more employed women and 44,000 more employed men, the number-crunching agency's data revealed.

The latest figures also show that there were 33,000 fewer unemployed people this year compared to August 2020, with the unemployment rate dropping to 7.6 percent.

By the end of August, a total of 281,000 people were registered as unemployed jobseekers at nationwide employment and economic development offices or in local government pilot projects.

The regions of Ostrobothnia, Southern Ostrobothnia and Pirkanmaa saw the sharpest decreases in joblessness, while Kainuu, Central Finland, Häme and Uusimaa only saw very small drops in the local unemployment rate.

Employers' group foresees labour shortages

Despite the latest increase in the employment rate, lobby group the Technology Industries of Finland noted in a press release that Finland faces a skilled labour shortage over the coming decade that could undo the benefits of projected economic growth.

As an example, the group cited a recent report which found that the tech industry will need 130,000 skilled specialists over the next decade — or about 13,300 per year.

Many its subsectors, including metal processing and IT, will need to recruit skilled workers — the majority from abroad — to plug the gap caused by Finland's ageing population. If this does not happen, the group noted, the rate of economic growth will not be sustained.

"The indisputable fact is that, due to the ageing population and low birth rates, the working-age population will fall sharply in the coming years and there will not be enough workers in all sectors," Executive Vice President Minna Helle wrote in the press release. "If we want to ensure economic growth, welfare services and living standards, our only option is to facilitate labour migration in many different ways — and quickly."

Yle News' podcast All Points North looked into the challenges facing skilled workers coming to Finland. You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify or Apple Podcasts or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Audio: Yle News

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