Good news has been a rare occurrence in the job market in the past few years. However, the future looks more positive. Recruitment is becoming more international, and especially the job market in Eastern Central Europe has been heating up.
“The Finnish job market is currently showing signs of recovery, too. According to our customers, recruiting has been more lively lately,” says Marja Pylkkänen, Managing Director of Alma Career Oy.
“However, in many other markets the economy has been doing better than in Finland for a while now, and in some countries, the situation with skilled professionals is becoming a challenge. For instance, in the Prague area in the Czech Republic, the unemployment rate is close to zero,” she continues.
Similar to the Czech Republic, in the Baltic countries, the demand for labour is becoming greater than the local supply. According to Pylkkänen, internationalisation is currently a clear trend in the recruitment industry.
“The competition for local professionals is hard, and applicants even from countries where the job market situation is good are drawn to other countries, such as Germany. Salary requests have risen and people are more eager to change jobs. Especially in Eastern and Central Europe, people are currently moving in many different directions,” Pylkkänen explains.
Severe shortage of IT and sales professionals
Alma Career regularly collects data on the labour needs of different market areas. The latest reports indicate that the areas currently most in need of professionals are IT and sales. In practice, the same problem exists in all of Alma’s countries of operation: not only Finland, but also the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Croatia.
Some parts of the markets are also troubled by the problem of mismatching, as the skillsets of the applicants do not completely meet the needs of employers. According to Pylkkänen, many companies are increasingly ready to employ new people even if their competence profiles do not quite match the needs of the job openings.
“This is especially clear in different service centres. They need plenty of employees with language skills, such as English, Dutch, German, Finnish or Swedish, but the applicants do not actually have to know much about the other skills required by the role, as the company trains them for their tasks,” she explains.
Pylkkänen has an encouraging message for recent graduates.
“Service centres are a great example of a place that can offer you job opportunities even if you do not have a long career behind you. If you feel like your home country cannot offer you many job opportunities right now, do the daring thing and head abroad for work experience. Just six months can be enough. Information and support is always available, all you need is the courage to leave.”
Using recruitment to enhance growth
According to Pylkkänen, it is not only young people that should show courage, but also companies, who, especially in Finland, often hesitate to recruit people before growth has occurred. Pylkkänen states that she understands that many businesses are careful with their recruitment due to the recession, but suggests that they could benefit from a new perspective: sometimes waiting too long can cost you.
“For instance, the process of recruiting a salesperson can take as long as six months, after which it will take another six months before the person has really learned the job. It is a good idea to take a look at how much sales you can actually lose if you do hesitate to hire a new salesperson when the market starts to show first positive signs. Or how much advantage you lose to your competitors if you do not hire anyone for R & D this year.”
Pylkkänen encourages businesses to take some risks and conduct their recruitment with a forward-leaning attitude.
“The right recruitments can support growth,” she explains.
Alma Career Oy operates recruitment services in nine countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. Alma Career’s diverse online services, such as Jobs.cz, Profesia.sk and Monster, as well as various events, bring together job applicants and employers.