Open jobs and job seekers in Finland in 2021

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In this blog post, we look at the statistics that describe open jobs and job seekers in Finland in 2021. 

In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed the positive signs the Finnish employment market showed last fall. We also looked at some short-term employment predictions for different areas in Finland. 

This week the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM) published data about open jobs and job seekers in Finland in 2021 (in English here). Those numbers show clear increases in the number of open jobs and decreases in the number of job seekers. They clearly reinforce the generally positive message about the Finnish job market we emphasized in that earlier blog post. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at these recent numbers more closely.

Open jobs in Finland in 2021

Employers in Finland notified the TE-offices of 1 057 363 open jobs during the course of last year. This was 43 % more than in 2020.

Of these open jobs, 32.5. % were located in Uusimaa and 12.6 % in Pirkanmaa. 

Percentage-wise, the change in the number of open jobs was most notable in Lapland. In 2021, there were 86.5 % more open jobs in Lapland than there were in 2020. Central Finland, instead, saw an increase of 31.9 % in the number of open jobs from 2020 to 2021.

In sheer numbers, the increase was largest in Uusimaa (81 400), Pirkanmaa (52 500), and Southwest Finland (35 800). It was smallest, in turn, in South Savo (5 100), North Karelia (5 500), and Kainuu (6 200).

Let’s look at the open positions more closely.

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The type of jobs that were open

Nearly 26 % of the open jobs in Finland in 2021 were positions for service and sales workers. 

About 18 % were for craft and related trades workers. These include, for example, construction workers, metal workers, and different types of repair workers. 

Around 16 %, in turn, were open positions in elementary occupations. These include, for example, cleaners and helpers, food preparation assistants, and refuse workers. 

In almost all occupational groups, the number of open positions went up. The only exceptions were soldiers and forestry and agricultural workers.

The increase in open positions was largest for plant and machine operators, and assemblers (nearly 79 % increase). The number of open jobs for managers (ca. 62 %) and sales and service workers (ca. 52 %) also went up quite a bit in 2021.

The majority (65 %) of the jobs that were open were full-time positions with regular working hours. 21 % was part-time work. Either with daily work with reduced hours (14 %) or work done only on some days during the week (7 %).

Shift work was also available. Either with three shifts (15 %) or with two shifts (0.4 %). 

About half of the open positions were permanent positions, ie. lasting for more than a year. Roughly 31 % were positions lasting for more than 3 months but less than a year. About 17 % were clearly just temporary positions (lasting less than 3 months). 

Job seekers in Finland in 2021

In 2021, there were 885 500 registered job seekers at the TE office books. 

Not all of them were unemployed. This figure also includes people who are working or at school but have registered as seeking a job. It includes also furloughed employees, those in reduced hours, and those currently outside the labor force but seeking employment (eg. parents on home care allowance). 

In this section, we will first look at the job seekers in general and then we’ll focus on unemployed job seekers in particular. 

Job seekers in Finland in 2021 in general

The total number of job seekers (885 500) is 17 % less than the year before. The number went down all around the country. The drop was largest, however, in Ostrobothia (-24 %), South Ostrobothia (-21 %), and South Savo (-21 %). 

Of all job seekers, 31 % were in the Uusimaa region. There, about 275 600 people were looking for a new job. This is about 15 % less than the year before. 

Uusimaa’s numbers are in a different order of magnitude compared to the rest of the country. The next highest number was in Pirkanmaa. There, about 88 600 people were looking for a new job in 2021. 

In 2021,  22 % of the job seekers were service and sales workers. Those without a classified occupation, students, or career changers counted for 21 % of the job seekers. 15 % were crafts or related trades workers, and an additional 11 % were professionals. 

In each occupational group, the number of job seekers dropped compared to 2020. The drop was largest among those without a classified occupation (-23 %). Professionals (-21 %), technicians and associate professionals (-21 %), and managers (-18 %) also saw a rather significant drop in the number of job seekers. 

The majority of job seekers (50 %) were over 40. 36 % were between the ages of 25 and 39. 15 % were, in turn, under 25 years of age.

18 % of job seekers only had basic education. Those who had a secondary education counted for 52 % of job seekers. 23 % had higher education qualifications.

About 17 % of job seekers are foreign nationals (106 300 individuals). This is about 4 700 individuals less than in 2020. The largest nationalities looking for a new job are Estonians (14 500) and Russians (11 000). All in all, this group consists of about 200 different nationalities.  

Each individual job seeker had on average 1.1 periods during which they were looking for a job in 2021. 48 % of those whose job-seeking period ended in 2021, got a job on the open job market.

The unemployed job seekers

In 2021, 628 800 of the job seekers (71 %) were unemployed for at least a short period. This is 25 % less than in 2020. 

Most of the unemployed job seekers were in the Uusimaa region (ca. 32 %, about 200 700 individuals). Again, Uusimaa is in a league of its own. Pirkanmaa, who had the next largest group of unemployed job seekers, counted for about 9 % of the total (ca. 58 600 individuals). 

Luckily, though, these numbers are much smaller than in 2020 in the whole country. Ostrobothia had 36 % fewer unemployed job seekers than the year before. South Ostrobothia, for example, had 31 %, Southwest Finland 26 %, and Southeast Finland 26 % fewer unemployed job seekers than in 2020. 

The educational profile of unemployed job seekers corresponds to the educational profile of job seekers in general. Agewise, this group is also similar to job seekers in general. 

21 % of unemployed job seekers didn’t have a defined occupation. 20 % were service and sales workers, 16 % were craft and related trades workers, and 11 % were professionals. Again, very similar profile to job seekers in general.

In 2021, there were 75 400 unemployed foreign nationals. This is 10 % less than the year before.

Their unemployment periods

The unemployed job seekers had more periods of job-seeking than job seekers in general but only sightly. Each individual unemployed job seeker had on average 1.4 periods of job seeking (compared to 1.1) in 2021. 

Again about 48 % of the job-seeking periods that ended in 2021, ended in employment in the open job market. This is the same as for the job seekers in general.

On average, they were unemployed for about 23 weeks. So, over 5 months. This average length was 8 weeks longer than it had been in 2020. For women, its length was shorter (21 weeks) than for men (24 weeks).  

Unemployment periods were longer the older the unemployed person was. Those who were under 25 years of age, were unemployed on average for 16 weeks. Those who were over 61 were, in turn, unemployed on average for 51 weeks. 50 to 60 year-olds were unemployed for 26 weeks on average. There’s thus a huge jump in the average length of unemployment periods once a person hits 60. 

In general, average unemployment periods were the longest in Uusimaa (26 weeks) and the shortest in Lapland (20 weeks).

In 2021, 28 % of all unemployed job seekers had been unemployed for more than a year. 59 % of them were men. 

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