CEOs concerned – Finland has the advantage

CEOs are having a hard time. Global economic growth is slow, the world is full of changes in industries, digitalization and the ongoing march of technology bring more competitors to the market. Despite all these, the number one concern for businesses in 2016 is attracting and retaining talent. The number two concern is finding the next generation of leaders and managers. Although automation, digitalization and technological advancements reduce jobs in many fields, globally the importance of talent is only increasing.

According to Rebecca Ray, EVP of the research group Conference Board, CEOs experience deep anxiety over issues related to talent and human capital. This is very understandable, the requirements on knowhow keep changing at an ever-increasing pace and yesterday’s skills won’t be enough to maintain a top spot today. On the other hand, the relative decline in the working-age population plays a factor in the overall smaller number of latest skills available. The startup-scene that has entered mainstream consciousness with a bang also claims a lot of both young and seasoned professionals. Therefore companies engaging in only local recruiting make a conscious decision to weaken their potential. In a global economy at a time when competitors, both foreign and domestic, are eyeing the potential top talent of the world regardless of where that talent currently resides, such practices could prove costly.

In this situation, Finnish businesses have a golden opportunity. Finland has numerous strengths when it comes to attracting international top talent. An equal society and in particular strong women’s rights sound pretty good to young and ambitious female professionals looking to create their careers. The high-quality free education is attractive to families. The numerous successful game- and technology companies are very interesting employers regardless of age or gender. It won’t come as a surprise then that according to top professionals, Finland is in the top ten attractive countries in the world (INSEAD GTCI 2015-2016 report).

Finland’s exceptional ranking as the second least corrupt country in the world, closely following Denmark, (Transparency International 2016) also provides employees and companies with trust towards Finland as a society and Finns as service providers and employers. These excellent rankings must be leveraged in a situation, where the global war for talent makes finding the perfect local talent challenging. It is therefore also necessary for companies to act as heralds of Finland’s excellence when looking for talent. And when the country in question is Finland, conjuring positive images should not require great effort.