Finland faces acute workforce shortage, eyeing experts from Southeast Asia

Finland is facing an acute workforce shortage with the country’s working-age population decreasing. The Finnish government has warned that the nation needs to raise immigration levels to 20.000 to 30.000 a year to maintain public services and stop a looming pension deduction. The target group includes IT and maritime experts from Southeast Asia, Russia, and India.

According to an article brought by Free Malaysia Today, Charles Mathies, a research fellow at the Academy of Finland says that the government and business have been passive about the problem for years but “are now at the tipping point and are recognizing the problem” posed by a greying population.

Charles Mathies is an expert consulted by the government’s talent boos program which is designed to boost the immigration of senior specialists, employees, students, and researchers. Finland’s population growth is based exclusively on immigration and Finland competes with the rest of the world for the best talent. The program works in part through local recruitment schemes and besides IT and maritime experts from countries in and around Southeast Asia, the program also targets health workers from Spain and metalworkers from Slovakia.

Previous efforts have however faded as Finland is experiencing a systemic problem with spouses and partners of experts facing difficulties in getting a decent job. Several foreigners complain of a widespread reluctance to recognize overseas experience or qualifications, as well as prejudice against non-Finnish applicants.

A 42-year-old Brit with many years experience in building digital products for multinational, household-name companies say that there was never a shortage of jobs going, just a shortage of mindset. The statement is backed up by Recruiter Saku Tihverainen who says that the shortages are pushing more companies to loosen their insistence on only employing native Finnish workers but yet a lot of Finnish companies and organizations are still very adamant about using Finnish workers.

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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