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Half of all new jobs in Finland offered in south-west

Some 30,000 new jobs were created this year in industries like vehicle and ship manufacturing in the southwest, accounting for half of all new jobs in Finland.

Esko Aho vieraili Turun Meyerin telakalla.
Esko Aho (right) said he was surprised by the rapid growth in the southwest. Image: Mika Puska

The manufacturing industry is creating job openings at an unexpectedly high rate in Southwest Finland, according to figures from Statistics Finland and the area's Regional Council.

Figures show that there were 30,000 more open jobs in the region in August than one year earlier, accounting for about half of all the 64,000 job vacancies that have cropped up in Finland over the past year.

The growth is mainly being driven by the Meyer Turku shipyard and car manufacturer Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, as well as pharmaceutical, construction and service sectors, according to the agency.

"Actually, all industries [in the region] are doing very well right now," says Janne Virtanen from the Regional Council of Southwest Finland. "I don't think people are generally aware of how many jobs are available here."

Ex-PM's estimates exceeded

The new data follows an August 2017 report produced by Finland's former Prime Minister Esko Aho, whose career since the early 2000s has included top spots at telecommunication giant Nokia, the presidency of the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (SITRA) and academic attachments at Harvard University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

In 2017 Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä appointed Aho as an independent fact finder to investigate and improve the economic standing of industries in Southwest Finland.

Aho's report estimated that jobs would increase in the region over some years, but instead the projections materialised in just twelve months.

"This is more growth than anyone could have anticipated," Aho said.

Infrastructure, marketing to boost growth

Both Aho and Virtanen said they believe jobs will continue to increase in Southwest Finland by the thousands, provided that obstacles to such growth are dealt with efficiently.

In his report, Aho proposed several changes to the region's infrastructure. The report proposes that the permit process for altering thoroughfares would need to be simplified to improve transport connections for more subcontractor traffic. Business education should also be developed by founding an engineering studies network in Turku.

Virtanen said that Southwest Finland could also do with more positive marketing to boost its industrial development. A survey from last year found that some 50,000 working-age people from elsewhere in Finland would be prepared to move to the region for work.

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