Photo: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Partners


In Helsinki, as elsewhere in Finland, there is currently a serious labor shortage in the social and healthcare sector, as well as in the field of education, which is expected to continue in the coming years. The situation is the result of several parallel phenomena in society and the labor market, such as population aging, retirement, population growth, and weakened attractiveness of the welfare sectors. To solve the labor shortage in critical fields, the number of start-up places in vocational education should be increased and targeted where the need is greatest.

The number of working-age population has decreased, while the population has aged, increasing the need for social and healthcare services. The need for early childhood education staff has been fueled by longer-term societal changes, such as an increase in the number of children and subsequently, a rapid and nationally targeted increase in early childhood education participation. In the future, various factors will affect labor demand, such as changes in population structure and service needs, professional qualifications and staffing changes, workforce turnover, and retirement. Vacancies that are currently unfilled and the proportion of unqualified workers in existing jobs also affect the need.

More professionals will be needed - due to retirement and population growth

In 2020, 19 percent of all nurses and 23 percent of all practical nurses working in Helsinki were over 55 years old. Within the next ten years, an estimated one in five nurses and practical nurses, as well as the professional group of early childhood education teachers suffering from a huge labor shortage, will retire. At the same time, Helsinki's population is growing. More health and social services will be needed, as well as qualified staff in the field.

Increased investments in education are needed

The number of higher education start-up places currently follows mainly the agreements made between the Ministry of Education and Culture and higher education institutions for the years 2021-2024. Although some vocational education start-up places have been added in some labor shortage fields, the increases have not been sufficient in relation to the magnitude of the labor shortage. The number of higher education start-up places in Uusimaa has been insufficient for a long time compared to the region's population and demand for education. The allocation of education places should be re-evaluated to better meet the needs of the labor market.