Frequently asked questions about Talent Boost
What is Talent Boost?
In its 2017 mid-term policy review, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government decided to launch Talent Boost – International talents boosting growth, a joint cross-sectoral programme for the Government. Its aim is to raise awareness of Finland and make it more attractive to international talents. Other aims include harnessing the expertise of international talents who already are in Finland to support the growth, internationalisation and innovation activities of Finnish companies.
Who is an international talent?
International talents are highly skilled immigrants or Finnish returnees with international experience and expertise as well as networks that can generate added value for Finnish industries. International talents may, for example, be foreign students, researchers, expatriates, returnees or people who move to Finland with their spouse. The reason for moving to Finland is irrelevant. A person who has moved to Finland for humanitarian reasons can also be considered an international talent.
Why does Finland need more international talents?
Various reports have identified the availability of talents as one of the main challenges facing Finnish companies as they try to expand and become more international. Companies need greater numbers of talented workers than Finland has to offer.
There are already entire industries in Finland where the shortage of talents has put growth at risk: for example, the software industry needs thousands of skilled employees. The demand for talents is also high at the southwestern coast, where the positive structural change has created numerous new jobs.
To become leaders in their fields, Finnish companies, universities and innovation actors must be able to attract from abroad the best talents or those with the highest potential. This is a precondition for the growth, internationalisation and innovation activities of Finnish companies but also for their ability to provide jobs for people in Finland.
Finland will also need more international talents to succeed in the global competition for investments. Broad-based expertise and a large pool of workforce are two of the main reasons why companies invest in specific countries or regions.
How can Finnish companies and other organisations benefit from international talents?
International talents are familiar with the local conditions and culture of target countries and have language skills, international contacts and networks. They often understand global trends.
Companies can benefit from the expertise of international talents, for example, in product development, accessing new markets and forming customer relationships in target countries. International talents can help companies and innovation actors create new ideas, find international partners and strengthen the mindset and approach needed in global business.
Why does Finland need a Talent Boost programme?
Talents are an increasingly important part of a country’s competitiveness, and the global competition for attracting talents is intense. Until now, Finland has lacked a national programme or strategy for attracting and retaining international talents.
The aim of the Talent Boost programme is to attract international talents to Finland. On the other hand, Finland already has international talents whose expertise and networks are not fully utilised to support companies’ growth, internationalisation and innovation activities. This is another aspect that the programme seeks to change.
The Talent Boost programme will also stimulate debate on the openness of the Finnish labour market. The attitudes, non-discrimination and diversity of working life have an impact on the ability of international talents to find employment, their willingness to stay in Finland and how attractive they consider Finland.
What are the targets of the Talent Boost programme?
In the 2017 mid-term policy review, the following targets were set for the Talent Boost programme:
- Finland attracts international talents and utilises their networks for attracting investments.
- Companies utilise the networks and expertise of international talents to support growth and internationalisation.
- The ecosystems and innovation platforms of the business sector as well as the labour market are accessible to international talents and encourage entrepreneurship
How will the targets be achieved?
Measures will include targeting country brand communications at international talents and developing business services and services provided by the authorities to support international recruitment. Business services, such as Business Finland, will present companies that are seeking to internationalise with opportunities to utilise the expertise of international talents. Moreover, mentoring and co-creation models will be developed for companies and international talents.
In 2018, several ‘International talents boosting growth’ projects will be launched to translate the Talent Boost programme into concrete action across the country.
Large cities will further develop the services they provide in English (e.g. international schools and early childhood education and care).
Will measures be targeted at specific fields?
Measures will focus particularly on the leading sectors that are growing in Finland. These sectors can benefit the most from the expertise and networks of international talents. Another focus group will be sectors with the highest shortage of special expertise. However, the scope will not be too narrow because innovations and new jobs are being increasingly created at interfaces between different sectors.
How will the Talent Boost programme take into account those international talents who already are in Finland?
The potential of international talents already residing in Finland is underutilised in Finnish companies. The programme will develop measures that will help connect companies and international talents more efficiently. Key aspects include linking the expertise of international talents to the growth and internationalisation services provided to companies by Business Finland and to the growth services provided in future by regional governments. The programme will also develop coordinated services for growth centres.
Who participate in the Talent Boost programme and who will lead it?
Who participate in the Talent Boost programme and who will lead it?
The programme involves the ministries that are the most relevant to the theme (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Finance). Other partners include Finland’s largest centres of growth: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere and Turku. The programme will also foster continuous stakeholder dialogue.
Talent Boost is a joint programme for the whole Government, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for its coordination. The Talent Boost steering group will be chaired by Permanent Secretary Jari Gustafsson from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
How does Finland compare with other countries in terms of attracting talent?
The global competition for international talents is becoming more and more intense. Many countries have developed programmes for attracting and retaining talents. Until now, Finland has lacked a similar national programme or strategy.
At present, we are losing international talents to other countries because the Finnish labour market, professional networks and business ecosystems are still too cliquish. We have services that support the utilisation of international expertise but from the perspective of companies they are often fragmented and scattered.
Has the Talent Boost programme been modelled after programmes in other countries?
In the preparation phase, particularly the models used in Sweden and Denmark have been examined. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is currently implementing a research project for the Government to identify good practices used in Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria.
In Denmark, the attraction of talents is closely connected to the attraction of investments. New Zealand, on the other hand, has successfully utilised synergies between attracting tourists and talents.