Farmer Henrik Finne works as chair of his local association for open-field vegetable farmers in Finland's municipality of Mustasaari, in addition to farming his land. He says he has become familiar with problems securing seasonal workers through his association work.
"It's not so bad during the summer because so many students have those months off, but between August and October, and again in May, it is really hard to get hired help," he says.
Finland's largest interest organisation representing farmers, forest owners and rural entrepreneurs in Finland, known as MTK, has decided to establish its own employment agency. The primary objective of the online service would be to seek out temporary seasonal workers to meet the needs of rural business and farms.
MTK chairman of the board Juha Marttila says that up to 15,000 seasonal or temporary jobs could be on offer at any one time.
"The objective is to make it easier for potential workers and the jobs on offer to meet. There is seasonal work that is mostly available during the summer months, for example, and there are always all sorts of repair and renovation jobs and temp work," he says.
MTK says that the range of employment opportunities will include everything from berry picking to field work to forestry.
Help preserving unemployment benefits
The new agency will also help prospective temp workers to fulfil the employment requirements of the government's new "active model" for state benefits.
"I believe that it will provide plenty of opportunities for employers and the unemployed to meet the active model criteria. This is a good thing to keep in mind," Marttila says. He adds that the service will also offer both parties advice with regards to invoicing, salary payment and tax services.
Farmer Henrik Finne says the most important thing he's looking for in potential workers of his vegetable fields is the right attitude.
"To have a good motivation to work and be dexterous, because this is pretty hands-on work," he says.
MTK will launch the new "Work from Finland" service on 12 April 2018 at www.töitäsuomesta.fi. It says it hopes the self-made employment agency will solve rural labour market problems and "create preconditions for the general development of rural vitality".