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Occupational Barometer: Number of shortage occupations rises slightly as effect of coronavirus epidemic stabilises

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 26.3.2021 8.56
Press release
Top5 of shortage occupation and top5 of surplus occupations in Finland in March 2021.

In February–March 2021, the Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices) defined 37 occupations as shortage occupations nationwide. A year ago, before the effects of the coronavirus epidemic started to show, there were 60 such occupations. In the autumn of 2020, 31 of the estimated 200 occupations suffered from labour shortage. In other words, the number of shortage occupations has risen slightly from the assessment in the autumn.

According to an assessment carried out by the TE Offices in February–March, 37 of the 200 occupations were surplus occupations. The number of surplus occupations has increased from the 25 recorded a year before. The coronavirus epidemic has not had a significant effect on the surplus of labour. Changes in the surplus of labour are small and trend-like.

These are the findings of the Occupational Barometer published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The report is based on estimates provided by TE Offices regarding the near-term outlook for labour shortage or surplus in key occupations. The Barometer includes 200 professions included in the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO 4), which represents just under half of the occupations with most workers.

Largest shortage in health and social services sector

There is a significant shortage of skilled labour in the health and social services sector. The shortage is most acute among nurses, senior social work specialists, speech therapists, practical nurses and early childhood educators.

The healthcare and social welfare sector accounts for two-thirds of the occupations on the top 15 list of shortage occupations. However, new occupations from outside the healthcare sector have emerged, including earth moving machine operators and roofing installers. Oral hygienists remain on the list too.

Changes to the list of top 15 surplus occupations have been even less drastic than in shortage occupations. Secretarial occupations in general continue to show labour surplus. ICT technicians are a new group on the top 15 list of surplus occupations.

Labour market demand and supply best balanced in Satakunta and Lapland

The share of occupations where the demand and supply of labour are in balance was the highest in Satakunta and Lapland, and the lowest in Central Finland and Kainuu. Kainuu has a proportionately large number of shortage occupations whereas Central Finland suffers from a relative large number of surplus occupations.

The next estimate of employment outlook in different occupations will be prepared in autumn 2021.

Mika Tuomaala, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8450, mika.tuomaala(at)

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