Finland tech skills report: The Nordic powerhouse is just warming up

Is Finland truly the “technology superpower” that it has been billed up to be in recent years? According to new, comprehensive TechSkillsAtlas™ 2021 study, it seems evident that Finland is not only solid in all things tech – the Nordic country is clearly poised to take its considerable expertise to another level entirely.

Designed by the international consultancy MCJ Lemagnen Associates, the new study more than suggests that Finland is very much continuing its tech superpower tradition: while previous TechSkillsAtlas studies have demonstrated that Finland is seen as 'good at tech,' TechSkillsAtlas™ 21 shows Finland is getting even better at it.

The study clearly shows that Finland ticks all the "digital talent boxes" in information technology, for example. In addition to "mainstream IT" such as systems and coding expertise, Finnish IT-professionals are well versed in game design, database development, cybersecurity, networks, mobile apps...not to mention emerging red-hot fields such as AI, AR & VR, digital health and blockchain.

And that's just IT for you. Whether you're talking about IT, Engineering or Healthtech, the study maintains that Finland is in superb form: there are significant resources across all three key technical skills areas.

Crack the Labour Market

However, also unemployment is very low amongst the professionals in these three areas, meaning that it can be a rather tight labour market, too.

"Still, new graduates and immigration are bringing new talent into our resource base," says Kaija Laitinen, Senior Advisor, Global Insight at Invest in Finland. Around the country, Engineering and ICT have the largest resource bases, and, as it turns out, also the highest degree of overlap with each other.

Furthermore, there is "lapsed resource" potential in Finland, meaning, in essence, persons who have worked in a technical skills role in the past. Significant unemployment rate amongst the lapsed resource within the three key areas (ranging from 7 to 19%) suggests that there are, indeed, more high performers out there just waiting to be rediscovered: 

"There is a clear opportunity to leverage the lapsed resource base of professionals that have previously worked in a technical role – and secure the required workforce that way," says Laitinen.

There's a good chance of accomplishing just that, since the study shows that 5-15% of the lapsed resource is currently looking for work.

Back to Tech, Anyone?

From a policy perspective, the under-utilized lapsed resource offers a worthwhile target for training and life-long learning. Via such measures, employers, employees and society as a whole can benefit a great deal.

In addition to getting the former tech workers to "return home," the data points to another potential hitmaker. "Women are under-represented in all these technical skills areas," Laitinen says.

Michel Lemagnen, CEO of MCJ Lemagnen Associates, adds that ageing society and further disruptive technology are presently changing the near horizon:

"This means that countries need to engage and give opportunities to their labour force, namely better engagement with girls and younger women relating to technical skills careers and re-engagement. In addition, life-long learning is needed to ensure older generations are not marginalised by technology change," Lemagnen says.

Hot Spots Going Strong

Where is all that talent located, then? – Well, unsurprisingly, the largest regional resource base is the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the surrounding Uusimaa Region. That's not to say that there's no significant brain activity away from the bright lights of the capital: in fact, the study shows that there are significant resources are available and accessible (by remote working and commuting, for instance) across the other regions, as well.

The key cities (and the surrounding regions) emerging strong in the study are Oulu (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa), Tampere (Pirkanmaa) and Turku (Varsinais-Suomi), painting a picture of pretty good balance of talent around the nation. Oulu Region is known for its IT prowess, while Tampere is strong in both IT & engineering muscle and Turku excels in health & engineers.

Pocket Power

The study reveals that while engineers and technical IT skills are well established across the country, Healthtech skills sets still remain scarcer. Also, non-capital regions can have higher degrees of concentration, notably for engineering, adds Laitinen.

"It's also worthwhile to note that different municipalities also have high degrees of specialisation of different skills areas. Presently, there are pockets of expertise even in the smaller and more remote municipalities."

Read the report (pdf)

TechSkillsAtlas™ is a technical skills measurement method, designed by MCJ Lemagnen Associates Ltd, a UK headquartered, independent consulting and research firm, specialising in the fields of foreign direct investment and trade, economic development and research. The fieldwork in Finland was carried out by MCJ Lemagnen Associates' Finnish and global fieldwork partner Kantar Oy, part of Kantar, the world's leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. The research was co-funded by by Business Finland and Helsinki Business Hub.

More information about the report

Kaija Laitinen
Senior Advisor, Market Intelligence
kaija.laitinen (at)