Sector report: Turnover grows in the health and social services sector, changes pose a challenge to companies
The health and social services sector is undergoing a major change. Changes in both the national and global environment create uncertainty, which may hamper business planning and development in companies. Companies play a significant role as service providers, therefore uncertainty may slow down the development of innovations and better services. At the same time, however, challenges provide an opportunity to further raise the quality of services and to promote their exports.
These were the conclusions of the Sector Report on Health and Social Services published in Helsinki on 15 January 2020. Health and social services include services in the healthcare and social welfare sectors, which are increasingly interlinked with other, related sectors.
An increase in the turnover of the sector's companies
Since 2017, the number of companies in the health and social services sector has decreased by approximately 200. In 2018, there were more than 18,000 companies in the sector, most of them involved in health services. The number of employees in the sector’s companies has increased, amounting to nearly 80,000 in 2018.
The sector’s companies, with the exception of micro-enterprises, are recording higher turnovers. Small-scale entrepreneurship is typical in the health and social services sector. The presence of different sized companies in the sector drives the renewal of services. It is important that companies of all sizes can operate on the market and seek growth. Competition for skilled employees is intensifying in the health and social services sector, as in many other sectors.
Changes offer opportunities
Drivers of change in the sector include the health and social services reform and several national and global trends such as the ageing of the population, declining municipal finances, poor availability of labour, and technological progress.
These drivers of change are largely independent, but the completion of the health and social services reform would provide better opportunities for exploiting the potential they offer. The key thing is that service and technology development and practical application create opportunities for exporting Finnish health and social services expertise. An atmosphere that supports growth and development helps to attract international talent to Finland.
The publication of the sector report coincided with the publication of SME sector barometers for social and health services and for health and sports. MEAE Business Sector Services is a network of experts led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment that collates, analyses and communicates information about the business environment to help companies and various other operators make decisions. It promotes and supports business renewal, increase in added value, and internationalisation.
Terhi Tevameri, Sector Manager, Southwest Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre), tel. +358 29 502 3075
Mikko Martikainen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4795
Katri Lehtonen, Development Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4926