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Talent Boost Summit collected key factors and the most current examples of work-related immigration

26.1.2023 | News item

Talent Boost Summit is an annual national event that provides listeners with up-to-date information on attracting international talent, immigration and making Finland one’s home. The fifth iteration of Talent Boost Summit was organised in Vaasa in November. It brought together nearly 500 participants – employers, international experts and a broad group of stakeholders – around a common theme. This year, the event focused particularly on the factors of attracting and retaining by highlighting good practices and concrete examples from different parts of Finland.

The event brought together municipal and regional developers, experts from higher education institutions and educational institutions as well as a broad representation of other relevant stakeholders to discuss and hear about attracting and retaining international workforce, settling in, and the benefits of diverse workforce. International experts also participated actively in the event. The day-long event included several speeches, a panel discussion and time for networking. The actual programme of the event took place in one day, but people were able to continue networking virtually the following day. 

“From the perspective of the event organiser, we can conclude that the event was a success. It attracted nearly 300 participants interested in the topic to Vaasa. In addition, approximately 150 participants watched the event stream remotely. We were able to include plenty of good practices that certainly inspired other parties facing the same challenges in different parts of Finland,” summarises the event coordinator Anna Korsbäck from the Ostrobothnian TE Office. 

The event was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, Business Finland, the Course towards Finland project (ELY Centre for Southwest Finland, ESF), the ELY Centre for Ostrobothnia and the TE Services for Ostrobothnia. 

The ability to attract and retain workforce is a shared responsibility

The significance of attraction and retention is great as employers compete for skilled labour both within Finland and globally. The whole can be examined from the perspective of an individual employer, but also more broadly – from the perspective of a city, a region or the entire Finland. This is a complex entity that emphasises both the employer image of an individual company and various innovative partnerships as well as cooperation across sectoral boundaries at the local and national levels. Companies need the public sector to secure access to labour, and municipalities need successful companies to promote vitality. The success of work-based immigration, on the other hand, requires that the entire chain is functional from Finland’s attractiveness to the settling in of an individual expert and their family. 

The topic is topical, since as Finland’s demographic structure changes, companies have a great need for employees. International experts can be the answer, and also enable the company to benefit from new customers and networks, for example. We do not necessarily need to look outside Finland, as some 20,000 international degree students are studying in Finnish higher education institutions even now. 

This year, Talent Boost Summit focused on attraction and retention factors from the viewpoints of the whole of Finland and its different regions. The event focused on existing services and proven good practices and how they can be used to strengthen the ability to attract and retain in different regions, cities and municipalities. 

Attractiveness can be examined from several different perspectives. We heard a topical example from the viewpoint of regional attractiveness as Project Manager Ding Ma from the Regional Council of South Karelia talked about the 3 months (or more) by Lake Saimaa campaign. The project carried out by the Regional Council and its partners has provided an opportunity for Japanese and Hong Kongese Green Tech experts, students, entrepreneurs and investors, and their families to familiarise themselves with the South Karelian operating environment, thereby promoting growth and internationalisation. The campaign has been a good experience, and it is a good example of how regions outside large cities can attract top experts to Finland.

Taina Tuovinen and Satu Remmer from the Satakunta TE Office, on the other hand, told us about a recent comprehensive recruitment process carried out as a joint effort by the EURES network, where employers in the Satakunta region recruited nurses from Spain to Satakunta. The importance of cooperation is emphasised both in recruitment and in how experts settle in their new municipality of residence and work community. 

The afternoon programme focused on the development of the ability to retain workforce from the perspective of an individual work community, region, city or municipality. The development of both the ability to attract and retain is important, but in a long run the importance of retention and successful settling is emphasised. In the panel discussion, the participants discussed different partnership models to strengthen the ability to retain workforce, and it was stated that the employer’s role in promoting the integration of employees is of utmost importance.

The panel also discussed the challenges and importance of language proficiency in a diversifying society and work communities. Panellist Francesca Cucinotta (Director, International Affairs, Centria University of Applied Sciences) emphasised the importance of language proficiency (Finnish/Swedish) in integrating into the Finnish society even if the employee could speak English in their work community. Another panellist, Tim Wall (Lead strategist at Atea, Founder of Gambit), pointed out that companies aiming for growth will not manage with Finnish only in the future. 

The last speech of the day was given by Senior Director and Head of the Work in Finland unit Laura Lindeman from Business Finland. She summarised the work of Talent Boost over the years as an accelerator of the internationalisation of work. They have done a good job and will continue on the same path! 

Talent Vantaa is responsible for organising the Talent Boost Summit next year. The date will be announced soon. 

If you want to learn more about Talent Boost Summit’s programme and speeches, you can view the stream recording here

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