Finland’s shrinking working-age population a concern for experts

Finland should step up its efforts to promote employment-based immigration, views Roger Wessman, an economist at Bastiat Consulting.

A growing number of experts have expressed their concerns about the shrinking working-age population in Finland - reported helsinkitimes.

Juhana Brotherus, the chief economist at the Mortgage Society of Finland (Hypo), on Friday stated in an economic review that the decreasing working-age population is making it more difficult for businesses to find new employees and driving up the demands of trade unions for wage hikes.

“The demands for higher wage hikes have already been stepped up. The round of union-specific talks this autumn could wipe out the growth projections for the year in addition to the relatively positive legacy of the competitiveness pact,” he wrote.

Finland had a working-age population of almost 3,300,000 – equivalent to 60 per cent of the entire population – at the end of 2016, according to Statistics Finland. The number of working-age people is projected to decrease by well over 100,000 by 2030.

Roger Wessman, an economist at Bastiat Consulting, warned that the demographic development could thrust the country into a downward spiral. The unfavourable age structure, he pointed out, will force an ever-smaller number of earners to cover the costs of the welfare system, thus making the country a less attractive alternative for people looking for employment opportunities abroad.

One possible solution is to promote employment-based immigration, according to Wessman.

“In Germany, the share of working-age people has begun to grow in recent years, even though also the Germans are ageing at a rapid rate. Accelerating employment-based immigration is the primary underlying factor. Foreign workers’ share of the labour force has grown rapidly in recent years. Today, foreigners represent a tenth of all employees in Germany,” he highlighted in his blog .

Finland should take actionto develop itself into a similarly attractive destination for the increasingly mobile global workforce.

Wessman estimated that the relatively low levels of employment-based immigration in Finland are attributable mainly to the country's remote location and language barrier. Such obstacles, however, should only place further emphasis on the importance of efforts to attract employees from all around the world.

A similar argument was made by Olli-Pekka Paasivirta, the chairperson of the Federation of Green Youth and Students in Turku.

“Finnish employees are not superior to foreign ones. Employment creates prosperity and well-being, and that is in the best interests of all of us. The labour input of someone who has moved here from abroad is just as important as that of a Finn. We should be pleased if someone moves toFinland and contributes to funding our societal functions,” he stated in a blog on Puheenvuoro .

He pointed out that the decreasing number of working-age people is eroding the funding base of the welfare society and is making it all but impossible totake advantage of certain growth opportunities.

“Promoting employment-based immigration is a great way to overcome challenges arising from population ageing. Employment-based immigration can be promoted by political decisions, but ultimately people will move to Finland of their own free will. Finland must become an attractive country to work and build a new life. Discriminatory attitudes towards people of foreign backgrounds are certainly one factor reducing the appeal of Finland,” commented Paasivirta.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Anni Reenpää – Lehtikuva

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

working-agepopulation Finland
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Alexander Stubb (NCP), a vice-president at the European Investment Bank (EIB), has hinted at the possibility of returning to politics after losing the race to become the lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) to Manfred Weber of Germany. Stubb received more votes than expected but lost to his rival candidate by a clear vote of 127 to 492 at EPP Congress Helsinki on Thursday. “I got a very good feeling [from the campaign], I must admit,” the fo...
The Finnish government will introduce no amendments to legislation on patient data during this electoral term, assures Annika Saarikko, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. Saarikko and Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, have participated actively in public debate concerning a legislative proposal that, according to Helsingin Sanomat, has been drafted in secrecy and would grant police significantly wider access to sensitive pa...
School groups could in the future use public transport services in the Helsinki region free of charge when travelling with a teacher, according to a decision made by the Executive Board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) on 30 October 2018. The final decision on transport charges, including tickets for school groups, will be made by the HSL General Meeting on 27 November.  From the beginning of 2019 onwards, municipal school administrations would no longer...
Finland has dropped to eighth in the world in the latest version of a ranking of countries according to their English language skills. Finns are now the worst English-speakers in the Nordic countries, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. The 2018 version of the ranking puts Finland in eighth spot, with western neighbour Sweden topping the comparison. This year’s result is the weakest Finland has achieved in the ranking, which has been published e...
The theme of next month's Independence Day ball at Helsinki's Presidential Palace will be climate change and environmental issues. The theme of this year's Independence Day reception will be climate change and the environment, according to the Office of the President of the Republic. Finland's most exclusive social occasion is just one month away, and the Office of the President has started sending invitations to some 1,700 guests for an evening that tradi...
The day's papers report on unsolved thefts, free head lice medicine for families and Angela Merkel's visit to Helsinki. Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that most larcenies go unsolved in Finland. According to statistics by the Police University College, police were able to clear 3,150 offences between January and September of this year, while about 41,500 remain unsolved. In 80 smaller municipalities, especially in Lapland and Åland, the police did not sol...
Finland's Tax Administration reports that 15,000 more eligible taxpayers declared no taxable income in the last two years, putting the total past 160,000 in 2017. The number of eligible taxpayers who reported no taxable income in Finland has risen by 15,000 in the last two years to a total of 161,000 in 2017. "Most of the people declaring no taxable income are...
Women in their 60s move more than men of the same age when it comes to occupational and leisure-time physical activities, according to a new study from the University of Turku in southwest Finland. "Gender differences during the workday are partially explained by the varying work patterns and the physical activity associated with women having longer commutes to work. Women of this generation also tend to do more housework than men, and measuring devices wo...
Opponents of Britain's withdrawal from the EU are calling more loudly for another referendum on Brexit. Seven of Finland's 13 MEPs think a second vote is likely. Over half of Finland's 13 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) say they believe that a second British referendum on Brexit will become a reality. The National Coalition Party's Sirpa Pietikäinen, Henna Virkkunen, Petri Sarvamaa, the Centre Party's Elsi Katainen, the Greens' Heidi Hautala, the...