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Recruitment a continuing problem for many Finnish firms

While a new survey shows increased confidence in economic growth in all sectors, it also found that for many companies recruitment has become an acute problem.

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The service sector in particular is experiencing recruitment problems. Image: AOP

Nearly one-third of companies that responded to an April survey by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) said that they have a problem with recruiting enough employees to meet their needs.

On the basis of the survey, Finnish firms see the general outlook for businesses over the next six months as still generally positive.

Recruiting employees has, however, become a stumbling block for growth in an increasing number of companies. This latest survey found that 28 percent of the responding companies said their growth is being impeded by recruitment problems.

"This figure is the highest since 2007 and quite among the top for the entire history of the survey," says EK's director for economic policy, Penna Urrila.

In a similar survey in January, just 22 percent of companies reported recruitment problems.

Focused training

Merru Tuliara, CEO of the Private Employment Agencies’ Association (HPL), says that almost all sectors are facing a shortage of employees with the skills needed for specific jobs.

The IT sector needs more coders, the engineering sector more experienced metal workers, the construction industry is facing a lack of management personnel, and the hospitality sector needs more cooks, Tuliara told Yle.

"One can no longer say that there is a labour shortage in just a few fields," she says.

According to Tuliara, what is needed is shorter, focused training, such as the three-month training programme in computer coding organized by the Academic Work employment agency.

Tuliara believes that this type of training will become more common.

"For example, someone changing fields can't afford to back to school for years again," Tuliara points out.

Capacity use high

A majority of enterprises expect the general business outlook to become somewhat clearer over the next six months. Growth in output and sales has continued overall, although in services, the pace has been somewhat slower than had been anticipated. Order books in the manufacturing sector have improved and are now substantially above average. The same is true in the construction sector.

Capacity utilisation is now at a high level in manufacturing with 88 percent of respondents in April saying that their capacity was fully utilised.

This Business Tendency Survey is published four times a year by the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK. The survey has been carried out regularly since 1966. Replies to April's survey were received from 1,251 companies employing nearly 260,000 people in Finland.

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