Talent Boost is a cross-administrative programme designed to attract and retain international talent, and to help with immigration. It aims to make Finland better known and more attractive to international talent. Other aims include harnessing the expertise of international specialists already residing in Finland to support the growth, internationalisation and innovation activities of Finnish companies. The programme strives to make the Finnish labour market more open and attractive to international talent. Talent Boost is a national collaboration platform for the development of talent-related services.
The programme coordinates policies on employment, business and industry, immigration, and research, education and innovation (RDI) with a view to strengthening the availability of skilled labour, labour market matching, the quality and internationalisation of companies and RDI activities. In addition, the programme promotes investments in Finland, the employment of foreign students, researchers and their spouses as well as the recruitment and diversity skills of employers.
Due to its demographic structure, Finland needs more immigration to ensure a functioning labour market and well-being in the society. The coronavirus epidemic has had a significant impact on the labour market, but it does not change population forecasts.
Goal: International talent will contribute to improving the employment rate in Finland, drive internationalisation in higher education institutions and the growth of companies and RDI activities, and promote foreign investment in Finland.
- Finland will become an internationally attractive place to work, study and carry out research.
- Employers are willing and able to recruit international talent.
- The expertise of international specialists will drive the internationalisation and renewal of Finnish companies and organisations.
Finland needs more skilled labour. Human capital plays an increasingly important part in promoting competitiveness, and the global competition for talent is intense. The world is open and the options available to international talents are enormous. Talent Boost provides a framework for the cross-administrative collaboration required to attract and retain talent in Finland.
The objective of the Talent Boost programme is to attract international talent to Finland and to improve awareness and recognition of Finland globally. On the other hand, Finland already has international talent in the country, whose expertise and networks are not being fully utilised in supporting companies’ growth, internationalisation and innovation activities. Talent Boost aims to change this too.
The Talent Boost programme will stimulate debate on the openness of the Finnish labour market. Workplace attitudes, discrimination and a lack of diversity affect the willingness of international specialists to stay and find employment in Finland, and they also affect the general attractiveness of Finland in their eyes.
The programme aims to build measures that will connect international talent with companies and other organisations, support cultural diversity in the workplace, and encourage companies to recruit the right talent to drive their internationalisation programmes. The programme will also develop coordinated services for growth centres.
Talent Boost provides a platform for Finland’s international, national and regional efforts to attract and retain international talent. This helps to ensure that development projects become part of regular activities, such as the Team Finland network of Finnish operators abroad. A one-stop-shop approach to providing existing services will be adopted in order to make the overall picture clearer and less fragmented to companies and other organisations.
- Accelerating the residence permit process for applications based on work or studies.
- Using the network of Finnish missions, the #Finlandworks concept and the workinfinland.fi website to target country brand communications and global marketing communications at international talent.
- Creating a model for international recruitment. This will include identifying supply and demand, and formulating ethical principles.
- Making it easier to settle in Finland by improving public services.
- Supporting international recruitment through the improvement of public services and services to companies.
- Offering incentives such as Business Finland’s Talent Explorer financing to encourage companies to recruit international talent.
- Creating effective mentoring programmes, co-creation models, and spouse programmes.
- Increasing receptiveness and diversity in the workplace, and strengthening the internal internationalisation capabilities of organisations.
- Combating the shadow economy and the abuse of foreign labour.
Participants include ministries (the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health), cities, Business Finland, the employment administration, and higher education institutions. In addition, participants will engage in continuous dialogue with companies and other stakeholders.
The programme is coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Talent Boost steering group is chaired by Raimo Luoma, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Talent Boost programme is implemented across Finland in cities and municipalities of different sizes. In addition to work, the lifestyle choices available and the ease of daily routines make a big difference to a person considering moving to another country. Urban regions have been leading the way in development efforts designed to attract international talent.
Finland’s higher education institutions attract thousands of foreigners, both researchers and students. In 2019, foreign students accounted for 6.8% of all students in higher education institutions, which is higher than the average in OECD countries. In 2019, 2,671 new foreign students were enrolled in Finnish universities and 2,796 in universities of applied sciences (Statistics Finland, May 2019). Foreign students completed more than 4,500 academic degrees in Finland in 2019; almost 500 of these were doctoral degrees. To address the labour shortage, a growing number of these academic graduates should be employed in Finland. Talent Boost involves closer cooperation between higher education institutions, companies and service providers in regional cities during the entire period from pre-enrolment marketing to students to post-graduate employment promotion efforts.
In the internationalisation programme of higher education institutions, which was launched in 2021, the Talent Boost operations are a second key priority alongside the global programme. The internationalisation programme is funded from the strategy funding included in the basic funding of higher education institutions. Talent Boost measures will develop cooperation between higher education institutions and companies, help integrate international students arriving for various reasons by strengthening the Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland (SIMHE) functions and by developing and increasing the supply in studies of Finnish as a second language. In addition, individual higher education institutions will receive funding to strengthen and support regional Talent Hub activities.
Finland’s position in the competition for international talent can be assessed, for example, by: OECD indicators “The OECD Indicators of Talent Attractiveness” compares countries’ ability to attract and retain highly educated workers (those with Master's or doctoral degrees), entrepreneurs and higher education students from their perspective. In 2019, Finland ranked 4th in the student target group, but in the group of highly educated experts, Finland ranked 17th and in the group of entrepreneurs, Finland ranked 8th. In the broader Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) for 2020, which compared the ability of different countries to raise top talents, to attract them from abroad and to retain them, Finland ranked as the 7th best country in the world of the 132 countries assessed.
The global competition for international talent is becoming more and more intense. Many countries have developed programmes for attracting and retaining talent. Finland has not had a comparable national programme or strategy before.
Measures taken during the studies are key in finding a job, as traineeships and other work projects open doors to working life and increase cooperation between higher education institutions and employers. Career services at universities support the employment of students. Employers in the private and public sectors also play a key role in employment.