Labour market information

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Finland - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


The population of Finland is approximately 5.5 million. The size of the country’s working age population will decrease in the years to come due to an increasing rate of retirement. At the same time, the number of immigrants is growing and people are staying at work longer. In 2018, the workforce consisted of just under 2.5 million workers. The average number of people unemployed in 2018 was approximately 200 000 and the unemployment rate was around 7.5%.

Today, most employed persons in Finland work in the service sector. The sectors employing the largest number of people are commerce, transport, hotel and catering services, education, health and social services and other services. Employment in the service industry is furthermore set to increase in the future.

Some of the biggest employers in Finland are Posti Group Oy, providing postal and courier services, the OP Group (banking and insurance) and ISS palvelut Oy, providing services for properties and office spaces. The biggest number of recent new employment opportunities have been in small and medium-sized enterprises. In Finland, the public sector is also a big employer. For example, the city of Helsinki is the largest single employer in Finland. It offers employment in the sectors of education, social and healthcare services, transport and maintenance.

Employers’ requirements regarding the staff they employ vary greatly according to the job. The absence of suitable employees in Finland is often due to jobseekers’ inadequate training or lack of relevant work experience or specialist skills.

About the COVID-19 situation

  • Companies have stayed afloat over the summer with the help of government grants as well as their own financial and support instruments. The temporary amendment to the bankruptcy legislation has also had an impact.
  • The number of laid-off workers is already approximately 100 000 less than the peak number recorded in the spring. The number of laid-off unemployed jobseekers continued to decrease until August and, now in the last week of August, it is below 65 000. Compared to the previous year, there are still many laid-off workers.
  • Based on lay-offs, the COVID-19 crisis has hit companies in the hospitality sector and the regions of Lapland and Uusimaa the hardest.
  • Youth unemployment is still at a worrying level and long-term unemployment rates have started to rise during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The number of new vacancies reported to Public employment and business services is below the number reported in the previous summer, but the situation has improved since the spring.

Economic and industry situations

  • The decline in industrial production has continued since April. In June 2020, industrial production decreased by 6.9% compared to May 2019.
  • In June 2020, the value of new industrial orders decreased by 11.7% compared to the previous year. Between January and June, the number of orders decreased by 11.3% on the previous year. In July, companies across all industrial sectors received fewer orders compared to the previous year.
  • For the time being, the order books of large export companies have kept the manufacturing industry afloat. Order cycles of investment goods are often slow, which means that some of the effects on the industry of Finland are likely to be delayed.
  • Positive factors of the economic situation • improved industry and consumer confidence, smaller reduction in the revenues of retail and service sectors, recovery of housing market, positive signals from European industry. • as an industry, the mining industry has so far suffered less due to Covid-19 compared to many other industries. The demand for raw materials has been maintained by different approaches to restrictions and the COVID-19 situation in different countries and continents

Finland uses a system that provides detailed information on which professions and occupations have a demand for or possible shortage of workers (the Occupational Barometer).


Text last edited on: 11/2020