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16.03.2012 11:55

Major Finnish-based companies have expanded their workforces abroad, while reducing them in Finland

In the 2000's 13 major Finnish-based multinational companies have almost doubled their personnel abroad to about 234,000. In the same period they have cut the number of their employees in Finland by nearly a third to 105,000. The proportion of their employees working abroad rose, in a decade, from 47 per cent to 69 per cent, researchers Ritva Oesch and Pekka Sauramo report in a new article*.

Employees working abroad for these 13 companies represent approximately 40 per cent of the employees employed by foreign subsidiaries out of all Finnish-based companies.

From 2000 to 2010 two thirds of the growth in personnel employed abroad was due to the formation of Nokia Siemens Network, which is a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens.

The number of Nokia's employees working in Finland was reduced from 24,500 to 19,800 during the same period. And the seven other industrial companies dealt with in the article also cut back on their domestic labour force. These seven companies are Metso, Outokumpu, Rautaruukki, Stora Enso, UPM, Metsäliitto and Kemira. Sanoma, the leading media company in Finland, has only slightly cut the number of employees in Finland but its personnel abroad has expanded significantly as a result of several company acquisitions.

Four of the 13 companies managed to enlarge their workforce in Finland. They were the IT service provider Tieto, the construction company and building system provider YIT and the largest companies in the commercial sector, Kesko and SOK.

From 2007 to 2009 the foreign subsidiaries of these 13 Finnish-based companies cut the number of jobs in total by almost 23,000. In Finland they reduced their number of personnel by even more. This is due to their weak commitment to investing in Finland compared with their willingness to invest in other countries.

Share of jobs in Western countries has dropped

In 1996 well over half (58.0 per cent) of the employees of the Finnish-based companies foreign subsidiaries worked in the USA (19.3 per cent), Sweden (18.5), Germany (11.4) and UK (8.8). By 2009 the proportion (for these four countries) had dropped to 29.6 per cent.

In the same period the share of jobs for Russia (9.3 per cent in 2009), China (8.8), India (5.4) and Estonia (5.0) rose from 2.2 per cent to 28.5 per cent.

*Oesch, Sauramo: Miten monikansalliset suomalaisyritykset sopeutuivat talouskriisiin?, Talous & Yhteiskunta 1-2012, published by the Labour Institute for Economic Research.

Helsinki 16.3.2012 - Heikki Jokinen, Juhani Artto

•    Largest Finnish-based industrial companies shrink at home, employ more people outside Finland (17.4.2009)

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