The World Happiness Report published annually by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has named Finland the happiest country in the world for the fourth time in a row. But the happiest country is facing an acute shortage of… people.
To tackle this problem, the Finnish government launched a “Talent Boost” program four years ago. Operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the program aims to attract more skilled labor to Finland. “Finland’s working age population is decreasing and population growth is based exclusively on immigration,” reads the ministry’s website.
39 percent of Finland’s shrinking workforce is currently over 65. The UN forecasts that Finland’s “old age dependency ratio” will balloon to over 47% by 2030.
“It’s now widely acknowledged that we need a spectacular number of people to come to the country,” recruiter Saku Tihverainen from agency Talented Solutions told AFP.
Workers are needed “to help cover the cost of the greying generation,” the recruiter explained.
The government has warned that the nation of 5.5 million needs to practically double immigration levels to 20,000-30,000 a year to maintain public services and plug a looming pensions deficit.
While happy Finland, with its high quality of life, freedom and gender equality, low crime rates and clean air seems like a veritable nirvana, several polls indicate that most Finns would like to limit immigration to preserve regional culture.
A reluctance to employ foreigners is also widespread in Western Europe’s most homogenous society, and the opposition far-right Finns Party regularly draws substantial support during elections.
But being named the happiest country despite a year of pandemic-induced turmoil? That certainly seems to make Finland worth a shot. Helsinki’s Mayor Jan Vaaavuori seems to think so. “Safe, functional, reliable, predictable — those values have gained in importance,” he said.
From : pk.mashable.com