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.

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

JHL’s future trends 2021–25

All publications related to future trends are in JHL’s material bank.

Follow current news on JHL’s work on the future on JHL’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the hashtag #tulevaisuudenjhl (“JHL of the future”).

More 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.

Comprehensive report looks for solutions

By commission of Trade Union JHL, research bureau Aula Research conducted a report looking for solutions to the shortage of labour.

The report suggests three ways of solving the problem. Trade Union JHL feels it is obvious that we also need many more labour immigrants to combat the shortage of labour.

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

Immigration is a part of the solution

Trade Union JHL has also conducted a more comprehensive report on immigration and its impacts on the Finnish working life (in Finnish).

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).

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. Even fewer people in Finland have jobs, and an increasingly large part of the population consists of children, young people and seniors. This change 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. 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 strict demands for language skills should be re-examined. However, a person’s language skills must always be sufficiently fluent so that nobody’s safety is endangered.

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.