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What type of workers Finland needs in the future: a brief look

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Last week in our blog post we discussed what type of recruitment problems Finnish employers had experienced in 2019. In this blog post, we turn our gaze forward and discuss what type of workers Finland needs in the future. 

Before we discuss the future, we’ll talk a bit more about the current situation. 

The type of workers Finland needs today

There is no single definitive list as to the type of workers Finland needs at the moment. 

Last week, I looked at recent reports by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (TEM) that described recruitment problems that Finnish employers had experienced in 2019. 

Based on that survey, the workers whom employers had most often problems recruiting were:

  1. early childhood educators,
  2. cooks;
  3. mechanics;
  4. childcare providers;
  5. salespeople;
  6. car, taxi, and van drivers;
  7. social work and counseling professionals;
  8. heavy truck drivers and bus drivers;
  9. nurses;
  10. software developers.

Manpower provides another analysis of employment needs in Finland. According to that, Finland is most in need of these groups of workers:

  1. skilled trades (electricians, welders, mechanics);
  2. sales and marketing personnel (sales representatives, managers, graphic designers),
  3. truck drivers, delivery personnel, construction workers, mass transit drivers;
  4. IT personnel (cybersecurity experts, network administrators, technical support);
  5. construction workers;
  6. certified accountants, auditors, financial analysts;
  7. healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses & other non-nursing health professionals);
  8. supervisors (coaches, advisors, directors);
  9. hospitality personnel (restaurant and hotel workers);
  10. engineering professionals (chemical, electrical, civil, mechanical).

The TE-office also makes their assessment of the need of different types of workers in Finland. They make these assessments twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall. The last one of these was published in September 2020. 

In the assessment, they project the need for the next six months following the release of the projection.

According to their last assessment, the employees most needed in Finland are

  1. nursing associate professionals;
  2. social work and counseling professionals;
  3. audiologists and speech therapists;
  4. general medical practitioners;
  5. early childhood educators;
  6. health care assistants;
  7. special medical practitioners;
  8. psychologists;
  9. special needs teachers; and 
  10. dentists.

Although these lists are not identical, there is overlap. It is clear, for example, that there is a need for different types of healthcare professionals. Also, childcare workers of different educational levels are clearly on the list. 

Of these three assessments, let’s look at the assessment by TE-offices a bit more closely as that gives us regional data. 

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Occupational Barometer by TE-offices

The TE-offices base their assessments of the immediate employment needs of the Finnish labor market on data from several survey tools. Their Occupational Barometer also uses interviews of employees and employers around the country.

The top 10 lists of the most in-demand professions in Finland vary somewhat regionally. For example, while early childhood educators were at the top of the list in Uusimaa in the September 2020 assessment, they didn’t make the list in Northern Ostrobothnia at all.

In Northern Ostrobothnia, the highest demand seemed to be for welders and flame cutters, and bricklayers and related workers.  

The demand for cooks, which was second on the list in the TEM report, showed a large variation in demand in the September 2020 Occupational Barometer of the TE-centers. For example, in Pirkanmaa there was a large surplus of jobseekers while next door in Southern Ostrobothnia there was a great lack of cooks. 

These regional differences are the result of several factors. These include, for example, various demographic differences and differences in the economic structure of the areas.

The Corona pandemic obviously also had its effect on the fall 2020 situation around the country.

Now, what about future needs? What type of workers does Finland need in the future? 

Needs of the future in Finland

If these different assessments provide a snapshot of the current situation, how do we know what’s going to happen in the future? What type of workers and skills are needed in Finland in the future? To answer this question, we can turn to the materials produced by the National Forum for Skills Anticipation.

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education established this joint expert body to produce assessments that could help anticipate the future training and education needs of Finland. The first of these forums ran from 2017 to 2019. A new forum was recently established. That’ll run from 2021 to 2024.

During their work, the groups involved estimated the employment needs of 33 different industries in 2035. They estimate that between 2017 and 2035 1.14 – 1.16 million new jobs will open in Finland. The majority of these new jobs will be to replace retirements. 

They estimate that the new jobs will concentrate particularly in the health services sector, education, land and water construction, real estate, social services, and in the manufacture of machines, vehicles, and metal products. 

In terms of their share of the Finnish workforce in 2035, the industries that will have grown in total number are land and water construction, manufacturing of chemical products, and real estate. 

Some sectors, despite having a large number of open jobs between 2017 and 2035 will in fact decrease in size. One such field is, for example, education.  

Let’s look at these estimates a bit more closely and see what those new jobs mean in terms of education levels and fields

Future workforce needs and education

According to their report, between 23.8 and 24.4 % of those new jobs will require university-level education. 31.2 – 32.5 % will need a university of applied sciences level education. And 41.1 – 43 % will require vocational training. 

This will mean a rise in the level of education required. In 2017, 32 % of the workforce had higher education. 56 % of these new jobs will require it. 

They estimate that about

  • 2.6 % of the new jobs will require education in Education and Behavioral Sciences;
  • 5.9 – 6.2 % in Humanities and the Arts;
  • 2.3 % in Social Sciences;
  • 12.8 – 13.2 % in Business Administration and Law;
  • 1.8 % in Natural Sciences;
  • 6.8 % in ICT;
  • 31.7 – 32.3 % in Technical Sciences;
  • 4.1 % in Forestry and Agriculture;
  • 16.4 – 17.7 % in Health Sciences; and
  • 11.5 – 12.9 % in the service fields.

Employees with university-level education will be needed, for example, in education, business and service development, public administration, and health services. 66 % of new positions in education will require a university-level education. In financial services, it’s 63 % and in business and service development 62 %.

Employees with university of applied sciences level education will be needed in particular in health services, real estate, land and water construction, and manufacturing. 56 % of new jobs in health services will require this level of education. In clothing and textile manufacturing, 50 % of new jobs will require that. 

Those with vocational training will be needed in social services, real estate, land and water construction, transportation, manufacturing, and health services. Over 70 % of new jobs in transportation, personal services, logistics, forestry, and food services will require vocational education. 

The main message of this report is that the future needs of the labor market require a significant increase is the education level of the labor force. In a future blog post, I will look at the skills that these future workers are expected to have. 

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