Helsinki Business Hub is about to conclude a nine-month pilot aiming to alleviate the tech talent shortage in the Helsinki region. The talent attraction pilot has focused firstly on finding ways of drawing international developers to Finland, and secondly on building a talent management model for the capital region.
As the Finnish economy has picked up after a long recession and the need for tech talent keeps growing across industries, Finland is turning to the international job market to attract developers. Skilled workforce is a prerequisite for innovation, digitalization and success. To tackle the need for tech professionals in the capital region, Helsinki Business Hub launched a pilot to develop talent attraction activities as well as a working model for talent management.
The project was managed by Helsinki Business Hub – the regional development agency for the Finnish capital region owned by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen – together with the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council. It was run in cooperation with the cities of Espoo and Helsinki, International House Helsinki, and national organizations focusing on talent activities.
“We started by collecting information of existing needs, activities and services. This was done by interviewing talents and key people across local organizations, utilizing the Talent Boost materials provided by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and by benchmarking other national and international talent management platforms. After that, we were able to identify what should be piloted when building a framework for talent attraction in the capital region,” says marketing communications specialist Petra Mursu from Helsinki Business Hub.
Careful matchmaking is key
One thing Helsinki Business Hub has learned from the pilot is that the foundation of talent attraction is careful matchmaking.
“The first step is naturally building visibility for Finland and the Helsinki region, and that is one of our top priorities. But it’s also crucially important to find the developers who enjoy living in Finland. We want to be honest. The climate may not be for everyone, but the top-notch educational system, on the other hand, is very attractive to families. It’s easy to combine an ambitious career with family, hobbies and social activities here. Finland can offer a very high quality of life,” says talent advisor Nisha Yadav from Helsinki Business Hub.
“Developers often know Finland for its gaming companies, and perhaps as a travel destination. We want to help them realize that Finland is also a country that can offer them a good life and a job that really fits their professional profile. On the other hand, we want to help companies find the kind of expertise they need,” Petra Mursu says.
Digital job board matches companies and developers
How do you find a good match, then? Helsinki Business Hub built a job board for international developers, showcasing tech jobs in the Helsinki region that don’t require knowledge of the Finnish language. The board is free of charge for both job applicants and businesses advertising their jobs. It currently has open positions from over 20 companies.
“We wanted to set up a public English-language job board that enables hand-picking jobs from a specific field – developers. We’ve also piloted targeted social media campaigns leading to the job board. The campaigns build on experiences shared by international developers who already work in Finland,” says Petra Mursu.
The job board has also inspired similar solutions in other Finnish cities. Furthermore, a wider, national-level job platform is now being developed, and Helsinki Business Hub is involved.
“It will offer even more features, for example a CV bank and HR services for employers and applicants. We’re looking forward to integrating our activities and the national platform in the future,” says Petra Mursu.
Matchmaking through events and artificial intelligence
Another important matchmaking opportunity are events. Helsinki Business Hub has organized its own matchmaking events in Saint Petersburg and Moscow and participated in various public and private sector events for example with Business Finland and with other cities. These include events like Junction, Emigration Expo and Great International Developer Summit. Helsinki Business Hub also sponsored a Games Factory event in Kiev.
“In our own Russian events we really wanted to involve companies to enable hiring on the spot. With five Finnish companies participating in both events, several developers have already been hired,” says Nisha Yadav.
“It’s also useful to collaborate with other Finnish cities on a national level to showcase Finland to potential job applicants. Together we have a better chance of success,” she adds.
Together with Business Finland, Helsinki Business Hub is also piloting an AI matchmaking platform directed to the Indian tech community. It collects background information from Indian developers working in Finland and matches their profiles as well as available jobs with the profiles of Indian job applicants. If the results are good, Helsinki Business Hub is looking to expand the solution to other markets as well.
Permanent measures for international talent attraction
The pilot has improved the visibility of the Helsinki region. With careful targeting to reach only relevant candidates, the campaign reached altogether around 4.5 million people in the selected target markets in Europe and Asia. But the awareness of the opportunities in the Helsinki region is only the first step on the international job seeker’s journey, and the end results of the work will actualize in the months and years to come.
What has Helsinki Business Hub learned from the pilot? Firstly, that it’s vitally important to work with the hiring companies so that the project goals can be aligned with their needs. But it’s also important to collaborate and share a common message with public organizations, universities and other cities.
“The next step is to focus more on the full circle of talent management, from talent attraction to relocation, integration and retention. This includes activities like increasing immigration services capacity, English-language services and providing information on hobbies and family services, just to mention a few. Several organizations in the Helsinki region and on the national level are already collaborating to improve the full process,” says Petra Mursu.
“The demand for international talent is constantly growing, so we need permanent measures to address it. Right now, we need developers but some day it may be some other type of professionals. International talent is also the foundation of building international companies and operations,” says Miska Hakala, director of business platform development at Helsinki Business Hub.
Read more about the talent attraction pilot.