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Labour market outlook of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment highlights ways to raise the employment rate

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
26.2.2019 10.01 | Published in English on 1.3.2019 at 13.31
Press release

In order to raise the employment rate to 75 per cent and to have more than 100,000 new persons of working age employed during the next parliamentary term, a reform of the tripartite system and working life rules, strengthening of work-based learning, labour policies supporting growth and employment, as well as labour migration will be required. The relationship between work and social security must be examined at the same time.

In their contribution, the civil servants of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment draw attention to labour market solutions having the potential to influence the employment rate and labour market functioning. The starting point is a coordinated labour and industrial policy. The contribution examines prospects for labour market development, and brings up key issues and the related solution alternatives.

“The Finnish employment rate must be raised in order to maintain our welfare state. The easy ways to increase the employment rate are already in use; difficult decisions are now needed. In our labour market outlook, we highlight solutions that affect the labour market functioning, the development of competence, labour migration, and reform of labour and enterprise services,” Permanent Secretary Jari Gustafsson stresses.

The labour market outlook is supported by extensive background material, which has been used to form a picture of the current situation, the desired state and alternative solutions.

“We highlight the need to revise tripartite cooperation together with the social partners. We consider it important that the starting point for tripartite cooperation is a shared understanding of the current situation, and the goal in all measures is to increase the employment rate. The objective is an operating environment that supports growth and employment,” Permanent Secretary Gustafsson continues.

An inclusive labour policy supports sustainable growth

During the current government term, employment has improved in all age groups. However, recruitment problems have clearly increased and the barriers to employment for specific groups, such as those with limited ability to work, have not been dismantled enough. Increasing the employment rate is currently constrained by the availability of labour and skills matching problems.

“We must rethink the means for the participation of all groups in the labour market. For example, the provision of work as widely as possible to people with limited ability to work means renewal of work, social security and services, and better coordination between them. Increasing part-time work is also one way of boosting inclusion. In countries where employment rates are high, the proportion of part-time work is also much higher than ours,” the Permanent Secretary points out.

“In addition, we need to reform the conditions for unemployment benefits, in order to increase active job seeking,” the Permanent Secretary continues.

Strengthening the skills of the workforce must be continuous

Finland’s economic model is based on high competence. The availability of skilled and high-quality workforce is a key factor for sustaining economic growth, correcting the demographic dependency ratio and financing the welfare state.

As possible means of achieving the goals, the outlook highlights, among other things, working-life-oriented continuing learning and increasing non-degree education.

Immigrants are in increasing demand on the labour market

Due to demographic changes, Finland needs both people working temporarily in the country and labour force settling in Finland permanently. In recent years, the population of Finland has increased because of immigration, as the country’s birth rate has decreased dramatically.

Finland competes for labour and international experts with the rest of the world. In particular, Finnish companies need special expertise from abroad that is not available in Finland.

The goal is for Finland to provide an environment that is attractive to companies locating in Finland and to their employees and families.

Finland must have a dynamic and proactive strategy for labour migration and an action plan for responding to the need for labour. The Talent Boost programme is a concrete step in this respect.

In their contribution, the Ministry’s civil servants also bring up issues such as the transformation of work, equality in working life and the rules associated with working life.


Contribution by the Ministry’s civil servants: The view of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on Finland’s labour market (in Finnish):


Permanent Secretary Jari Gustafsson, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7400
Director General Antti Neimala, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7039

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