Timo Harakka was born in Helsinki on 31 December 1962. He is known in Finland for his active participation in public debate and involvement in society, and as a person with a keen interest in cultural matters. Prior to his political career, Harakka worked for over thirty years as a journalist, author and television producer.
Harakka grew up in a working-class family in Äänekoski, a small town in Central Finland. His parents were deaf and so his mother tongue was sign language.
He took his matriculation examination in 1981 and continued his studies at Jyväskylä and Helsinki universities and at the Theatre Academy, from where he graduated with the degree of Master of Arts in Theatre and Drama. He has not yet completed his doctoral dissertation at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) at the University of Tampere.
While working as a journalist, Harakka worked as a columnist, for example, for Helsingin Sanomat, Suomen Kuvalehti and Talouselämä. In 1997–2014, he worked as editorial coordinator at Ylioppilaslehti magazine and as editor-in-chief at Vihreä Lanka magazine. His most well-known tv-productions are tv- shows Musta laatikko and Pressiklubi and the 10 books series for which he earned the Golden Venla award in 2011.
Harakka has written five books, the last two of which deal with international economy. Luoton loppu (The End of Credit) was published in 2009 and Suuri kiristys (The Big Blackmail) in 2014.
Harakka was elected to Parliament from the Uusimaa electoral district for the first time in 2015. As an MP, he is known to have special knowledge about economic and taxation matters. He has been a member of the Finance Committee (most recently its chair), a member of the Grand Committee and a deputy member of the Committee for the Future.
As Minister of Employment, Harakka intends to advocate a long-term employment policy that emphasises inclusion and competence. His priorities include finding ways to employ persons with partial work ability, those who are difficult to employ, immigrants, and others whose employability requires special support.
Harakka lives in Helsinki with his wife Anu Laitila and their three children. Literature, architecture, other arts and basketball are close to his heart.