Many young Finns studying for “wrong professions”
Shortages of professionals in some fields, surpluses in others
Many Finnish young people are studying for what might be considered the wrong professions, in the light of prospects for employment and changes in the labour market.
Too few young people are studying medicine, subjects related to social and health care, as well as machine, metals, and energy technology. The prospect of a surplus looms in professionals in the arts, communications, data processing, the process and chemicals industries, and in materials engineering, as well as in the beauty and travel sectors.
There will be a need for tens of thousands more professionals in social work and health care than exist now.
Traditional industrial vacancies are declining, and many employees in those professions are losing their jobs.
The Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT) has issued its first forecast for the need for employees in various fields.
The Ministry of Education will then start planning changes in education in order to get the right kinds of skilled workers for the right professions.
The report does not touch on certain sensitive political questions, such as the need for immigrants on the labour market.
VATT has made forecasts on the need for labour in a total of 80 professions through 2025.
The report is welcomed by Ville Heinonen, a civil servant at the Ministry of Education.
He says that the points of view establish a good foundation for the planning of education - to the extent that forecasts are possible in a time of great structural change.
Heli Saijets, an official at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, was in Brussels last week, examining the prospects of the EU countries in a situation in which the labour market is undergoing change.
“Finland has long traditions of education planning based on employment forecasts, but there is a need to improve the predictions. VATT’s survey is more than welcome, although it focuses exclusively on quantitative changes”, Saijets says.
There are about 90,000 slots in Finland for young school leavers starting professional education. About half of them are for vocational training, and half for university-level studies.
At the Confederation of Finnish Industry (EK) , Marita Aho, an expert in innovation and training, hopes for new visions in the planning of training and the labour market.
She notes that exports in training for new services will require completely new kinds of education.
Aho feels that anticipating the labour market is also important in terms of what kind of business life and public sector Finland wants to have.
Finnish employers want to be more closely involved in the planning of education in the future.