Talent Boost Summit 2018 raised the level of ambition in talent attraction and retention

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 14.11.2018 15.17
News item

This year, the Talent Boost Summit focused on talent attraction and international recruitment. Held in Tampere on 7 November 2018, it brought together around 300 participants, including a variety of international experts and representatives of companies, cities, organisations, central government, higher education institutions and service providers.

It is hard to distil a dozen inspirational speeches and talks into one story. Nevertheless, you could clearly identify three key messages repeated during the Talent Boost Summit. Firstly, international talent is vital for the growth of companies and the Finnish economy. Secondly, it is not enough to attract international talent – we have to retain such talent, too. This is where focusing on the whole family becomes important. Thirdly, talent attraction and retention call for strong and smooth cooperation.

In Finland, it is widely acknowledged that a labour shortage is already holding back growth in many companies. According to Executive Director Laura Juvonen from the Technology Industries of Finland, her sector needs more than 53,000 new, competent people by 2021. And this is just one example. When it comes to potential employees, should Finnish companies broaden their horizons?

“Finnish companies need to learn to better utilise the strengths of international talent. Besides their labour input, they can bring new ways of thinking, new partnerships, language skills and the cultural understanding needed in international business,” said Director General Antti Neimala of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in his opening words.

Brag about Finland

Getting Finnish businesses to understand the value of international talent is not enough. The other side of the coin is to attract international talent to Finland and make sure these people feel at home. How can this best be done by a country that is distant and has a limited set of key attractions?

“Finland is a lot more than reindeers and sauna. You have a lot to offer, such as innovativeness, openness to digitalisation and an excellent education system. This is not the right place to be modest; you should promote Finland much more,” encouraged CEO Miriam Holstein from Bayer Nordic.

Brag about Finland, urged Rasmus Roiha, CEO of The Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association. Luckily, key players have acknowledged the importance of spreading the word. Talent attraction is now a permanent aspect of Finland’s country branding, global marketing and export promotion. Together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Business Finland will take a bigger role in making Finnish working life and everyday living better known to international audiences.

Whole family matters

Many speakers stressed how essential it is to support the spouses of those who choose to move to Finland. The whole family matters, as International HR Specialist Nuppu Suvanto from Tampere University pointed out. She told the audience about the Hidden Gems project, which aims to facilitate the employment and full integration of spouses into Finnish society. The project also enables local companies in the Tampere region to tap into the “hidden” expertise of international spouses.

The audience also learned about personal experiences of international talents attracted to Finland. Entrepreneur Kamilla Sultanova told her story and stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion. Building connections and social networks is not always easy but is definitely worth it. “Finns have a big heart. They just have to dare to open it,” she said.

Call for stronger cooperation

The third key point of the day was that talent attraction and retention require strong and smooth cooperation between the different parties involved. Neither the State, nor cities or, companies nor NGOs can do it alone. This is why creating cooperation across sectoral boundaries is one of the cornerstones of the Talent Boost programme.

Accordingly, Talent Boost Summit 2018 was a collaboration between various partners: the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Business Finland, Business Tampere, City of Turku, Turku Business Region, City of Helsinki and Amcham. The event ended with the welcome news that the next Talent Boost Summit will take place in Turku. So put the date in your diary for 12 November 2019.

Recording available

The streamed video and presentations of the speakers are available here. Please note that the sound problem at the beginning of the recording was fixed for the second session of the event.