JHL of the future

Finland’s population is getting grey and declining. What will this do to our labour market? Who will take care of your grandmother in 30 years? JHL’s fresh report looks for solutions to the shortage of labour threatening Finland.

JHL’s future trends 2021–25

During 2021-2025, Trade Union JHL will examine five extensive phenomena affecting JHL members’ work.

In addition to climate change, the themes are ageing, technological development, the changing economic system and urbanisation. Follow current news on JHL’s work on the future on JHL’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the hashtags #tulevaisuudenjhl, #framtidensjhl and #jhlofthefuture.

More children and seniors, fewer working taxpayers

During the upcoming decades, there will be a tumultuous change in Finland’s demographic structure. The population will decline, get older, and even fewer children will be born. The demographic dependency ratio will weaken, meaning that the ratio between people of working age and the rest of the population will get smaller.

All this increases the need for public services. There will be an even more intense shortage of workforce and taxpayers. For this reason, Finland should raise the amount of work done.

Research bureau Aula Research has conducted a comprehensive report for Trade Union JHL on Finland’s changing demographic structure. The report suggests three methods for solving the problem. Trade Union JHL feels it is obvious that we, at the very least, need many more labour immigrants to combat the shortage of labour.

  • Increasing the employment rate, prolonging careers
  • Increasing the birth rate
  • Increasing immigration

Read the comprehensive report (in Finnish) to find out what demographic change means for JHL members’ occupations, and how one can fight the shortage of labour.

Population will decline and get grey

During the upcoming decades, Finland’s population will age dramatically. Meanwhile, even fewer children will be born. This will lead to a weakening demographic dependency ratio in Finland. Demographic dependency ratio refers to the ratio between children and pensioners, and people of working age. All this has a dramatic impact on the labour market, economy, and public services. The shortage of employees and taxpayers will get even worse.

Need for service will increase, difficult to find employees

As the population ages and decreases, the Finnish market will stop growing. At the same time, the need for public services will change. There will be less of a need for childcare and youth services, and more of a need for elderly care.

It will be even more difficult to find employees in the future. Especially the health and social services sectors will be hit by a bad shortage of labour. In these sectors, the need for service is increasing, but professionals are retiring at a high pace. Likewise, the pedagogy and learning sectors are suffering from a shortage of labour caused by a large number of people retiring.

Regions have different premises for facing demographic change as more and more people move to, say, Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, and Pirkanmaa.

Solving the shortage of labour requires more immigration

Increasing the employment rate is one of the fastest methods for easing the shortage of employment. This means, say, that people would remain in working life longer than today, and that as many people as possible who are fit to work would be working. There is no painless method to increase the employment rate, and many employment measures are already now in use.

Family policy can help raise the birth rate. Its most important goal is that everyone could have the number of children that they wish for. Research does not have one straightforward answer to how this goal can be reached. Even if the birth rate would start to increase right now, the impacts would only be witnessed after several decades.

Trade Union JHL stands for increasing labour immigration significantly. Today, those who want to come work in Finland face a confusing jungle of bureaucracy. This must be changed. Work permits need to be processed significantly quicker than today. The language skills required must be determined clearly in accordance with the job in question. However, a person’s language skills must always be sufficiently fluent so that nobody’s safety is endangered.

In spring 2022, JHL commissioned a survey on immigration. The result is obvious – Finnish people have an increasingly positive attitude towards labour immigration. Most Finns accept labour immigration, as long as the immigrants work under the same terms and conditions of employment as Finnish people. Learn more: JHL’s survey on labour immigration, March 2022 (in Finnish).

Increased immigration also requires the increased monitoring of the terms and conditions of employment. That means, for instance, stricter interference in underpayment, the right for trade unions to take legal action, and improving the Act on Public Contracts.

Trade Union JHL has conducted an extensive report on labour immigration (in Finnish), learn more about JHL’s standpoints.

JHL’s climate report 2021

JHL’s climate report reflects on how the climate crisis and curbing it affect the trade union’s members. Research bureau Aula Research conducted the report in spring 2021. JHL has opened the results of the work for public inspection as two quickly readable summaries and two thorough reports.

The trade union must be involved in climate actions. When curbing the climate crisis, one must remember so-called just transition. In Finland, this means for instance that people have sufficient financial resources if the climate crisis melts away their jobs. Society must also provide enough training for career changers.