Finland: 2018 Employment Trends Questions & Answers

1. What’s the situation with salary expectations? Is the paycheck the most important thing, or has its importance dwindled?

Many employer branding studies claim that salary is no longer among the top factors for jobseekers looking for a place to work. While this may be partially true, it doesn't mean that you can avoid paying market prices for quality staff. 

In many competitive industries, salary levels are actually rising - and in high demand skill categories, a large salary is the norm. As a result, it makes sense that salary is no longer the best way to compete for the best talent. You need to be able to offer your potential employees something more – a meaningful job, opportunities to develop new skills, a healthy working environment, flexibility, a work-life balance and so on.

2. How are job seekers approaching companies? For example, should we be investing in a responsive website and a mobile optimised application process?

Yes! There is a lot to make use of when it comes to mobile recruitment. Studies show that over half of job seekers use mobile devices to browse job boards, but only a fraction of companies offer job seekers a full mobile recruiting process. 

You don't get many chances with these hard to reach potential employees, so don’t waste this opportunity to engage with them at every moment you get. This is also a question of employer branding: sending a candidate from a mobile device to a long-winded desktop form does not exactly suggest you’re a modern and customer oriented company, and it may put applicants off.

3. How is the role of human resources (HR) departments changing?

Given that the modern employment market is in many ways now starting to look more like “competition among employers for the best talent” rather than “competition among employees for the best job opportunities”, many companies have been starting to re-model their HR processes. 

The role of the recruiter is now starting to require more specific skills and knowhow, so it makes sense to split this from traditional HR roles. Many Finnish companies now employ “talent acquisition managers”, and many more are likely to start doing this in the coming months and years.

4. What kind of companies attract high quality candidates? For example, do small companies with flat hierarchies do better than big corporations with complex structures?

There is a lot of buzz around the startup world, and there are countless examples of startups which offer gimmicks ranging from brand new bicycles to an unlimited supply of organic smoothies! Still, when looking at the data about how different job advertisements perform, it seems that big corporations still also receive their fair share of attention. Lots of people still want to work for them!

I think that the key to success is to play to your actual strengths rather than try to pose as something you are not. When a big corporation pretends to be a nimble little startup, it creates something that I sometimes call the “Vanilla Ice” effect. Google it, and you’ll get the point! By keeping it real and defining your employer value proposition, it’s difficult to go wrong.

This isn’t, of course, intended to detract at all from the quality of the Finnish startup scene. More jobs than ever are created in small companies, and looking at the startup world is a great way to see what the future of work might be. Many of these companies are created by millennials and as a result they represent a culture that fits their values well, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

It’s great that there is a wide selection of companies and working cultures out there for people to choose from. If they look in the right places, everyone can find their ideal employer!

5. What are candidates expecting from their future employers? For example, are they searching for learning opportunities, new positions every few years, or something else?

There is no single thing that employees are expecting from their employers, and it often differs depending on factors like age and experience. A recent study from Universum demonstrates this point well, as it found quite significant differences once employees were split into two groups: students, and seasoned professionals. 

For the latter, the main benefits sought were a versatile job description, a competitive salary and respect. For the younger group, however, a work-life balance, meaning in their work and feeling safe were more important.

Getting to grips with the hopes and requirements of both your current and future staff is what it is all about. You can go wrong by copying some hip startup culture and practices if that’s not what your company is about, while it’s also possible to fail if you try to pretend you’re a big corporation when you’re clearly not! 

Knowing your own strengths and working with your staff to be the best employer you can be is a surefire way to success.

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