The Finnish job market in 2020

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In our last blog, we explained that the government employment services (the TE office) still play an important role in connecting employers with job seekers in Finland. Thus employment statistics based on TE office data give us important information about the Finnish job market.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at TE office statistics and see what that tells us about the Finnish job market in 2020.

Yes, 2020 was a rough year in the Finnish job market

The recently published statistics from 2020 show how hard the pandemic hit the labor market. The number of reported job openings fell by 11 % and the number of job seekers rose by 38 % from 2019.

The largest drop in vacancies occurred in Southern Savo, where the number of vacancies fell by 20.1 % from 2019. The area didn’t, however, have the largest increase in job seekers. There, the number of job seekers rose by 22.2 % while in Uusimaa it rose by 54.2 %. 

The largest percentage growth in job seekers was in Åland. There the number of job seekers increased by a whopping 97.3 %. Their overall numbers, however, are so small that relatively small absolute increases (in this case an increase of 1 893 persons) result in large percentage changes. 

The largest number of people looking for a job in 2020 was in Uusimaa. There, 325 422 people were looking for a job during the last year. All in all, there were 1 064 500 job seekers in the TE-office books during 2020. 

Not all of them were unemployed, however. 836 700 people registered as unemployed in Finland sometime during 2020. Thus 79 % of all job seekers were unemployed job seekers. 

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What kind of jobs were open in the Finnish job market in 2020?

Although the year was bad in comparison with the previous year, TE-offices in Finland had altogether 741 500 vacancies. 35.3 % of these were in Uusimaa and 10.8 % in Pirkanmaa. The other areas in Finland counted for less than 10 % of vacancies each. 

Just over one-fourth (26 %) of these job openings targeted service and sales workers. These also include, for example, store clerks, practical nurses, and child care workers. 

The next largest groups targeted craft and related trades workers (18.8 %), elementary occupations (17 %), and technicians and associate professionals (13.8 %).

The first one of these groups includes, for example, construction workers. Elementary occupations include, for example, cleaners, assistant construction workers, and assistant kitchen personnel. Technicians and associate professionals, in turn, include for example nurses and social workers.

Of all the vacancies, 1 % were government jobs,  13 % were municipal jobs, and 86 % were in the private sector. 

The drop in private-sector jobs was 12 % compared to 2019. The equivalent drop in municipal vacancies was 9 % while governmental vacancies increased by 1 % from 2019. 

The majority of jobs available were regular full-time positions (67.1 %). The situation didn’t change much from 2019 when 64.1 % of available jobs were regular full-time positions. 

The proportion of different types of part-time work remained the same (20.7 % in 2020 vs. 21.4 % in 2019). 

About 48 % of open positions were long-term positions (lasting for more than a year). 

What do we know about the jobs that were filled?

Employers who advertise their positions with the help of the TE office do not have to tell the TE office whether and how they were able to fill their open positions. 

So, for the majority of the open positions (532 400, 72 %) we don’t know if and how the employers were able to fill their positions.

Some employers, however, do let the TE-office know that they were in fact able to fill their positions. For those positions (113 900, ca. 15 % of all open positions in 2020), there are also some additional data that are interesting. 

For example, employers filled 38 % of those positions with an applicant that came through the TE office. 

We also know that employers were able to fill 26 % of the positions within the first two weeks. Just over half were filled within the first month. And by the end of the second month, they had filled 79 % of the positions. 

The time it took to fill a position varied between occupational groups. On average, positions were open for 42 days before employers were able to fill them. 

Managerial positions were open on average for 30 days. Positions for skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers were open for 52 days before they were filled.

Employers were able to fill 68 % by the original deadline they had given. 

Or about the people who filled them?

The answer is “not much”. The report tells us that at least 48 % of job seekers got a job in the open job market in 2020. There could have been more but some do not tell the TE office why they have stopped looking for a job.

Of those unemployed, 46 % got a job in the open job market in 2020. This was 6 percentage points higher than in 2019.

We don’t know how many of these were furloughed employees returning back to their old positions. Overall, the proportion of furloughed employees of all the unemployed job seekers was high (311 800, 37 %). This is 446 % (!) more than the year before.    

Normally in Finland, around 50 % of newly recruited workers come straight from another job. In 2019, only 17 % of recruits came from unemployment. 

In 2019, the retail sector recruited unemployed people most often (23 % of new recruits). The least common it was in the information and communications sector (7 % of new recruits). 

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