MY TWO CENTS: Michel Lemagnen
“You just can’t get the staff.” Well, actually you can. Helsinki’s got talent but it’s not used to its full potential.
After seven years of active researching I’ve finally got the proof that the Finns really do have talented, highly skilled people. The bottom line is that whilst Finland is a relatively small country, there really is a large enough, sustainable skills base of technical professionals. The issue here in Finland, as is the case elsewhere across Europe, is that the technical skills base is not utilised to its full potential.
Ask any business owner what one of their biggest issues are about running their business in Location ‘X’, and I can pretty much guarantee they will be moaning about how hard it is to find the “right people”. Essentially, companies want to be confident they can find people with the right skills for business today and for tomorrow (and of course at the right price!). The conclusion many empirical studies categorically show is that availability of the right workforce skills is invariably a (often the most) critical location driver. The more skilled or labour intensive the operation will be, the greater the importance of having the right talent.
Both Finland and the Helsinki region have that talent, but no existing studies really dug down to the really “hard to find” technical skills. Therefore Oxford Intelligence was commissioned to do Location Skills Audit™ and Talent Map™ for Finland. The research only focuses on those that work now (or previously) in a technical or analytical role in the following skills sets: ICT, Advanced Engineering, Life Science & Medical Technologies, Environmental Technologies & Renewable Energy, Food Science and Financial Services.
The Oxford Intelligence study clearly show how there is a high quality, very well educated talent pool offering a great blend of experienced staff, coupled with up-and-coming younger talent. This is supplemented by a pipeline of the next generation talent currently studying in Finland’s globally recognised education system.
The biggest challenge is that only 40-50% of those with technical skills currently work in a technical role. Why? Because of four factors: 1) Good technical people almost inevitably get promoted to managerial, non-technical roles. 2) Parents take a career break or “down-shift” whilst children are young and no longer have the opportunities. 3) Sadly in tough times, the job market sucks and skilled people become unemployed or take a job which does not use their skills. 4) Some people train to do one thing but find they really don’t enjoy it as a job.
The 50-60% who don’t use their skills are called the Latent Talent Pool. There is a huge opportunity here accessing its potential. Oxford Intelligence research in other countries found that around half of the Latent Talent Pool would like to work in a technical role again. These people might need some additional training to refresh their skills, but this has to be a good option for employers to consider.
Can’t get the staff? Yes you can, and it’s here for you in Helsinki and across Finland.
All MY TWO CENTS: helsinkitimes.fi/columns/my-two-cents