The job market in Helsinki

labour market
Updated on 06 February, 2020

The labour market in Helsinki can be described as unbalanced, a bit schizophrenic even. Simultaneously, there is an increasing number of vacancies available, but unemployment remains quite high especially among the newly arrived immigrants. For the past few years, Helsinki has been struggling in its efforts to integrate newcomers from abroad. However, applicants and jobs do not meet.

The economy in Helsinki

In Helsinki and the Metropolitan area, the economic structure is very service-oriented. Business-oriented services such as commerce, transportation and storage, accommodation and restaurants and scientific research constitute roughly around half of the city's economic activities. Inside the same category, finance sector together with information and communication sectors are on the rise.

Primary industries, including construction, have roughly a ten per cent share of the economic pie while public administration and welfare services make around a quarter of the whole.

The most promising fields in Helsinki

Latest indicators, spanning a few years, show there's a need for workforce in a number of areas. The most sought-after positions are social workers, health care professionals, cleaners, sales representatives, engineers and translators, among others. The long-lasted construction boom is showing signs of weakening. But, for example, tourism in Helsinki is increasing rapidly, and many new hotels need skilled personnel.

In the aftermath of the heydays of Nokia (as a mobile phone company), Helsinki has experienced a real birth of the start-up scene. Especially gaming industry and companies like Supercell and Rovio are hungry for coders and designers. The city is also a home for biotech companies and maybe a bit surprisingly, one can expect growth even from the new space economy cluster. Some estimates say there are some 500 technological start-ups in Helsinki.

How likely are you to get hired in Helsinki?

In the Helsinki Metropolitan area, the unemployment rate is around eight per cent. Among the immigrants (refugees), that number is roughly twice as high. The chances of finding a job vary hugely from one profession to another. In general, the better one speaks Finnish (or Swedish), the better the chances are for being hired. Highly skilled people are needed across the spectre, and for them, language is not such an issue. That said, there is a demand also for those willing to work with less income. But once being hired, everyone is paid equally according to agreements.

Wages in Helsinki

There is no law for a minimum wage, but each branch of industry negotiates collective and binding labour agreements, which also include the level of wages. Average net earnings a month in Helsinki are in the mid-range category when compared with other major cities in the world – around 3,000 dollars. Needless to say, the gap between the highest and lowest salaries is considerable.

Of course, what is enough for a decent living in Helsinki is also, to some extent, a subjective issue. Living costs are quite high – depending a lot where in town you live. The Centre for Consumer Society Research has calculated that a single person under 45 of age needs at least 1,400 dollars a month in hand to survive.

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