Monday April 15, 2024

Companies bosses see govt efforts to integrate immigrants inadequate

Published : 14 Nov 2023, 23:33

  DF Report
DF File Photo.

About 80% of executives of large companies said that that Finland is not making enough efforts to integrate immigrants, according to a survey conducted by OP financial group.

The survey on Large Corporations also revealed just one in four large companies believe that Finland's immigration policy improves the availability of labour, said OP in a press release on Tuesday.

"The ability to work is often a precondition for successful integration. Attracting professionals to Finland isn’t enough, we should also do more to ensure that employees are accepted as equal members of their work community and get the support they need for integration, both at work and in other areas of life," said Katja Keitaanniemi, Chief Executive Officer of OP Corporate Bank.

The executives also criticised the government for the stricter immigration policy.

"Whereas failures in integration marked the previous government's term, the current government is being criticised for enacting unusual restrictions on immigration and residence. Implementing a humane but strict immigration policy appears difficult to achieve, regardless of which parties make up the government," said Professor Pekka Mattila, director of the survey.

A clear majority of large Finnish companies does not see the current Government's immigration policy as improving the availability of skilled labour, Companies also see challenges in the integration of immigrants.

Large companies say they will focus their recruitment activities next year mostly on Finland.

Companies have faced labour shortages in recent years. As many as 93% of large Finnish companies say that employers in their line of business are competing for good employees and experts.

Large companies are looking to work-based immigration as the solution to the shortage of skilled labour.

However, more than 60% of senior executives who responded to OP's Survey of Large Corporations were sceptical that the current Government's immigration policy would improve the availability of skilled labour.

"Large companies broadly share the view that our immigration policy should be re-evaluated from the perspective of attracting talented employees. Just one in four large companies believe that the current Government's immigration policy will improve the availability of labour. The figures are nearly unchanged from the previous government, although the share of respondents that disagreed was slightly lower," said Keitaanniemi.

Companies are solving the need for skilled employees in the near term by both training personnel and hiring new experts. Training of existing employees in favour of external recruitment increased slightly from last year.

Around 76% of large companies said that their recruitment activities were focused on Finland, with 18% of companies planning to hire employees from other EU member states, and just under 6% from non-EU countries.

“If implemented, plans to relax the requirements for determining the availability of labour would also make it easier to hire talented employees from outside the EU. The current burdensome permit process serves the interests of neither companies nor professionals looking for work in Finland,” Keitaanniemi added.

The OP’s annual Survey of Large Corporations measured executives' views on business and economic developments. A total of 176 senior executives representing 141 large Finnish companies and large subsidiaries operating in Finland responded to the survey in autumn. The responding companies have combined net sales of over 244 billion euros.