A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce suggests that almost four in ten businesses (39%) believe the skills of professionally trained graduates do not align with workplace requirements. This alarming figure highlights an urgent issue, as the greatest deficiency flagged by firms pertains to the lack of professionals with the right vocational qualifications.
Of the companies surveyed, 31% rated the expertise of graduates as poor in meeting work demands, while 8% found it very inadequate.
On the optimistic side, 21% of the respondents believed that the skills matched or exceeded job needs well.
The survey specifically targeted companies in need of individuals who have completed secondary vocational education.
Johanna Sipola, Deputy Director-General of the Central Chamber of Commerce, voiced her concerns, stating, "Our surveys indicate that businesses are in dire need of professionals with vocational education. The equation doesn't add up if we cannot cater to these needs with contemporary, high-caliber skills. This deterioration in vocational competence constrains the growth of Finnish companies and hampers their competitive edge on the global stage."
In order to ensure the availability of skilled labor, businesses spotlighted three key solutions:
- Enhancing collaboration between companies and educational institutions, deemed important or very important by 92% of businesses.
- Revamping curriculum content to better reflect workplace needs, supported by 90% of companies.
- Overhauling incentives for job acceptance, endorsed by 80% of firms.
The Central Chamber of Commerce emphasized the importance of educational institutions adapting autonomously to changing demands, suggesting they should adjust the curriculum, initiate new training programs, or offer concise skill modules.
"For narrowing the gap between vocational skills and workplace needs, we must streamline the regulation of educational responsibilities and capacities. We need an ongoing dialogue between enterprises and vocational players to make education more attuned to workplace demands," added Sipola.
Furthermore, 67% of firms claimed to have a thorough understanding of local vocational institutions and their offerings, while a mere 9% felt they were ill-informed. Encouragingly, 42% expressed satisfaction with the collaborative efforts.
According to the survey, the demand for trained professionals is notably concentrated in specific sectors: engineering (74%), commerce, administration, and legal studies (73%), IT and telecommunications (65%), and the service industry.
Sipola pointed out a significant omission in the survey's coverage. "The healthcare and social sectors are grappling with a worsening labor shortage. Due to the membership structure of the Chambers of Commerce, this area is underrepresented in the survey," she commented.