Leading Technology Superpower and Future Job Prospects and Skill Shortages in Finland

Finland is a great place to study, work, live and raise a family in, thus staying in Finland after graduation is a dream for many international students.

The attractions of working in Finland are many. Finland offers good, high-quality working conditions, high salaries, employees have a secure status, children and youths enjoy good educational opportunities, public services run smoothly and we have many successful, internationally well-known companies.

Global Finnish Companies

Nokia Corpotation sign in front the company building in Espoo, Finland
Nokia Campus in Espoo

Finland has long been a world-leader in technology, ICT, paper and pulp industries and the country can boast with globally known companies such as UPM-Kymmene, Stora Enso, Kone, Metso, Neste Oil, Nokia and Wärtsilä.

Finland has also become the start-up hub of Europe, and many companies have started their journey in Finland. SLUSH Helsinki is one of the biggest start-up events in Europe. In addition to the well-known success stories of Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of clans), there are an amazing number of promising and rapidly growing start-ups and young growth companies within Cleantech, ICT, Life Sciences and Nano Technology industries in Finland.

To support the establishment of new start-ups in Finland, the Finnish government has planned to launch a new start-up visa for entrepreneurs.

One of the many reason behind the success of companies in Finland, is that Finland has the best university-industry research collaboration in the world, according to the Global Innovation Index 2016.

Finland leading in ICT and Digitalization

Finland has a long history of Information Technology and the global success of Nokia spurred the development of Finland as the hub for software and electronics development.

This is also why companies such as GE Healthcare, Google, Huawei, Rolls-Royce and Zalando has chosen Finland as their hub for digitalizing their business. There are also more than 300 game developers in Finland.

Gaming: Finland is home to world-leading mobile gaming companies, such as Rovio, Supercell and Fingersoft.

Wearables: The first wearable fitness trackers were developed in Finland by industry trailblazers such as Suunto and Polar.

Machinery: Finland is a world cluster of machinery companies, such as Kone, Metso, Valmet and Wärtsilä. A combination of excellent data engineering, business intelligence and a high concentration of IT professionals has enabled Finland to become a world leader in the industrial internet.

Data centers: Thanks to Finland’s cool climate, highly skilled IT professionals and infrastructure, Finland has attracted major investments in data centers from companies such as Google, Equinix and Yandex.

Health and wellbeing

Pharmaceutical R&D: Finland is the premier location for health R&D due to the longstanding tradition of digitalizing health data, excellent healthcare and large biobanks. For these reasons several global pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Merck and Roche have large R&D centers in Finland.

Medical Technology R&D: Finnish Medical and Health Technology is also globally well-known, and companies such as GE Healthcare, Thermo Fischer, Danaher and Bayer have therefore established R&D centers in Finland. Finland is one of seven countries in the world that exports more health technology than it imports.

Health Start-ups: Finland boasts a rapidly growing ecosystem of health start-ups. Many of these companies work in areas of medical devices, health ICT, medical data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Cleantech and Bioeconomy

Energy-intensive industries, the cold climate and the lack of domestic fossil fuel resources have turned Finnish companies into global leaders in clean technologies and sustainability. There are over 4000 cleantech companies registered in Finland.

Finland is rapidly becoming the superpower of the bioeconomy revolution. The longstanding tradition of domestic companies living off Finland’d gold- forests, have attracted foreign investments into the bioeconomic growth. The Japanese firm Itochu has for example invested in a new bioproduct mill by Metso Group. In 2016, the Chinese company Sunshine Kaidi and China CAMC Engineering announced their intentions to invest in bioeconomy projects in Finland, with a total worth of over €1 billion.

Smart Maritime

Finns know how to break ice. 60% of all the ice breakers in the world are built and 80% are designed in Finland. The first LNG-powered ice breaker in the world was built in Finland. The majority of the largest luxury cruise ships in the world are built or designed in Finland.

Finland has the largest ship building sub- contractor network in the world with over 1,000 suppliers and is on a steady course to become a global forerunner in the development of next-generation shipping solutions. Finland is a great environment for both testing and developing autonomous shipping technologies due to the expertise it has in optical sensors, wireless communications, software development, the industrial internet and artificial intelligence. This is why Rolls Royce opened an autonomous ship R&D center in Finland in 2018.

Future skill shortages in Finland

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor, Finland is heading towards a severe labor shortage and there is a clear need to recruit skilled people from abroad in the coming years. If the employment rate remains at the current level, there will be a labor shortage of 150,000 people in 2020. In other words, the current workforce is not big enough to replace the ones leaving, the ministry says.

Elements of informational technology such as coding on a laptop screen.

According to future predictions of vacant jobs in Finland, sectors that face severe skill shortages are among others:

  • IT, ICT and Gaming – Software engineering, computer science, AI, Robotics, Big data, cloud computing.
  • Chemical Industry (Chemicals account for Finland’s second largest industry sector) – Chemical engineers.
  • Bioeconomy – Bio-refinery, biochemistry, chemical engineers, environmental engineers etc.
  • Health Sector – Medical practitioners, health ICT, medical data analytics, AI.
  • Construction/Infrastructure – Construction engineers, electrical engineers and other engineers.
  • Tourism – Hospitality Management, Business Development.

For international students interested in working in Finland after studies, there is a huge potential within the field of IT, ICT, AI, VR, Big Data, and gaming. According to The Finnish Information Processing Association, Finland will have around 10 000 vacant positions for skilled programmers in 2020. In total, there will be roughly 200 000 open job positions within the above-mentioned areas in Europe in the coming years. Thus, students who are interested in IT, ICT and digitalization, industrial internet, artificial intelligence, big data and robotics will have good opportunities to find a job in Finland afterwards. However, as listed above, almost all sectors in Finland will face a shortage of skilled labors as a large part of the population are retiring in coming years.

Across the EU, the top five skill shortage occupations are ICT professionals; medical doctors; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals; nurses and midwives and teachers.

Cost comparison and Return on Investment

Data comparison and ROI

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