Workers in an office. LEHTIKUVA


Nearly 66 percent of Finnish companies report that a shortage of skilled workers is impeding their growth and business development, according to a recent survey conducted by the Chambers of Commerce. The survey revealed that 59 percent of businesses are struggling to find competent labor, and this talent shortage is significantly limiting their expansion plans. The most acute shortages are in the field of vocational expertise.

The economic downturn has temporarily affected companies' employment opportunities and labor needs. However, the Central Chambers of Commerce warns that businesses will face severe challenges when the economy recovers if proactive measures are not taken to address the talent shortage.

The survey, conducted among over 1,150 companies across Finland, highlighted the ongoing struggle for businesses to find skilled workers. A staggering 66 percent of companies reported that the availability of skilled labor is restricting their growth and business development. Out of the respondents, 12 percent felt severely limited, 35 percent felt somewhat restricted, and 20 percent felt limited to some extent due to the shortage of skilled workers.

"These figures are alarming. Even in a weakened economic situation, a significant portion of companies in Finland is still grappling with labor shortages. This problem remains acute in the country," said Johanna Sipola, Deputy CEO of the Central Chambers of Commerce.

While the economic situation has led to a decrease in companies seeking new employees, the survey indicates that a clear need for recruitment will emerge in the next couple of years. Up to 68 percent of companies anticipate their recruitment needs to grow significantly within the next 2-3 years.

However, finding the right talent remains a challenge. The primary reasons cited by companies for recruitment difficulties include insufficient applicants for open positions (42%), applicants' limited work experience (41%), intensified competition for employees (35%), and applicants' unsuitable education (29%).

The demand is particularly high for professionals with vocational qualifications. About 82 percent of companies expressed a need for individuals with vocational qualifications, with 32 percent needing them significantly, 36 percent needing them somewhat, and 15 percent needing them to a limited extent. Similarly, 84 percent of companies indicated a need for individuals with a university of applied sciences degree, with 20 percent needing them significantly, 40 percent needing them somewhat, and 24 percent needing them to a limited extent.

"It is crucial to address the needs of businesses, especially in terms of skilled professionals. One essential solution is to significantly increase immigration of skilled workers since our domestic population will not be able to cover the long-term needs of companies," added Sipola.

The survey, conducted from September 6 to 11, 2023, provides a comprehensive view of the challenges faced by Finnish businesses in the context of the ongoing talent shortage. Actionable strategies to bolster the workforce are vital to sustain economic growth and promote business development in the country.