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Finland - Päijät-Häme

Short overview of the labour market


The area covered by the Häme Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Häme ELY Centre) comprises the regions of Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme, which are located in southern Finland. Due to its good location, it is easy to reach Häme. Päijät-Häme’s largest town, Lahti, and Kanta-Häme’s largest town, Hämeenlinna, are about an hour’s journey by train or car from the capital, Helsinki. The population living in the area covered by the Häme ELY Centre was 375 412 at the end of 2016, with 201 596 resident in Päijät-Häme and 173 816 in Kanta-Häme. The population fell by 913 over the year. Unemployed jobseekers accounted for 14.1 % of the labour force in 2016, and there were 25 016 registered unemployed.

The main strengths of the Häme area are its good location in terms of logistics and its transport links to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and other areas of growth. People commute to Helsinki, Tampere and Kouvola from both regions. They also commute from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to the regions and between them. Strong, knowledge-intensive educational establishments and their growing levels of activity in collaboration with business are also cornerstones of development in both regions. There are, however, relatively few growth businesses, large multinationals and research units in the entire area covered by the Häme ELY Centre, although on the other hand the businesses that are there are active innovators.

Häme’s strength is its diverse economic structure and its exceptionally large number of SMEs involved in exports. There are also large and internationalised companies in the area. Its strong sectors include food, the environmental field, biotechnology, IT, the metals and chemical industry, logistics, mechatronics, plastics, timber, furniture, commerce and services. The area has a robust industrial heritage. The structural change in industry has caused significant job losses. The turmoil in the industrial sectors is thought to be over. Structural change is, however, continuing in traditional industries, and if the regional economy is to thrive, businesses in the commercial and service sectors need to move to the area from areas of heavy industry. There is some experience of the impact of structural change. It is not easy for viable businesses/entrepreneurs wishing to wind up their activities to find people to take over from them.

There is thought to be growth potential in the welfare sector in all of the area’s sub-regions. There continues to be a strong growth trend in services aimed at older people, especially services provided in the home. Digitalisation and the opportunities it offers play an important role in improving services for citizens and greater efficiency in general. Demand also continues to grow in the sheltered housing sector. The reform of the regions will mean changes to the models of cooperation in the public and private sector.

In Häme, there are diverse opportunities for increasing event-based, activity-based and nature-based tourism. The importance of the bioeconomy will also revitalise the more rural municipalities. Food production is part of the bioeconomy; this is one of the strengths of the Häme area, and it creates employment and well-being for the region. Päijät-Häme in particular has a significant share of the bioeconomy, since the region already has the country’s largest concentration of cereal farming/industry. The design and cleantech clusters in the area are also robust.

Demand has not increased significantly in the commercial sector, and the falling trend in the population and income is not likely to generate any change in the near future. In this sector, however, investment is continuing and there is confidence in the future. More flexible business hours have had an impact on sales and has also helped increase the number of jobs.

You can use the occupational barometer to find information about the professions where there is demand for workers, and professions where there might not be much demand.

Text last edited on: 07/2017

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