Over 300 people gathered for the first event ever of this scale in the domain of international talent management in Finland, the Talent Boost Summit 2017. The Summit was held in Helsinki, partly as a culmination of three earlier thematic workshops led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, and at the same time, as a path-opener for the recently established Finnish governmental programme Talent Boost – International talents boosting growth.
Among the participants were representatives from cities, companies, higher education institutions, ministries, as well as international talents. Several organisers affirmed that it was the first event at a national level to allow all the relevant stakeholders to come together at once.
The opening words were pronounced by former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho, who highlighted the cruciality of international talent and multidisciplinary talent overall, and for Finland’s own survival in an era of globalization and digitization.
The main questions addressed throughout the event included:
How to catch the best fish in the global talent pool?
How to boost business with the help of internationals?
How to build a talent attraction ecosystem?
Good examples and success stories were also enthusiastically presented. For instance, how Danes in Copenhagen have been creatively focusing on building a talent attraction ecosystem for nearly two decades; an ambitious project by the City of Helsinki to arrange an “International House” to provide all sorts of services under the same roof for newly arrived internationals; or how the company Labkotec based in Tampere – specialising in industrial measurement equipment, has hugely benefitted from incorporating international talents in their business operations. What is more, participants were very active during the breaks too, seemingly taking every chance to network and expand their perspectives.
Pärtel-Peeter Pere – CEO at Future Place Leadership, has been cooperating in multiple initiatives with Finnish partners in the past few years.
“We work in Europe, and we’ve had the pleasure to work with notable talent magnets or destinations like Singapore, but the Nordics is our main playground. For example, we had a ‘Talent Attraction Management’ (TAM) project for more than six months that resulted in a handbook, and in which we had 17 Nordic partners, including Finnish partners. We basically did research on best practices, workshopped and co-created a TAM toolbox.”
On top of that, he speaks highly of Finnish efforts undertaken in the domain.
“Looking from the outside, it is really impressive what the Finnish cities and the government are doing. I think this is generally not matched by any other place. Here you have Tampere, Turku, Helsinki, Espoo, Kotka, Vaasa, Oulu and so on. All of them, in a way or another attract talents, manage networks, etc. They have acknowledged the need to work with that. And when it comes to the national level in Finland, we also see movement. It is absolutely wonderful to see this happening.”
Pärtel-Peeter Pere also believes that working on a Nordic basis will be the most fruitful success formula for all the countries and city-regions here involved.
“We are working hard so that the Nordic region will register more as a top career destination. The Nordics have plenty to offer in terms of career prospects, start-ups, innovation ecosystems, life quality and work-life balance. Given our similarities in challenges and value offers, more cities should cooperate in the Nordics. Facilitating talent mobility and co-creating talent attraction is something we hope to see in the coming years. In the interest of our society and labour force,” he concludes.
Laura Lindeman – Senior Specialist at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, expresses her satisfaction with the event’s progression.
“I’m glad that everything has gone very well. I think that the most important thing is that we have got such an enriching mix of people. And all the speakers have been really good. I’ve loved the Danish ecosystem example, because that’s exactly something we’re now building here, and so we have a lot to learn too.”
She further asserts that it is empowering to hear international speakers support the Finnish initiatives.
“Now hearing the international speakers telling that ‘this is important, this is valuable for the economy, for the society’, motivates us further. Because if we ever doubt whether there is any meaning in the work that we do, this kind of event empowers us and makes us feel that it is surely worth doing it.”
Laura Lindeman verbalises her hope for Finnish companies to open up more to succeed both locally and internationally.
“Regarding our companies, we hope they realise how it’s crucial to have an international team if they want to have a global business. It doesn’t work so anymore that you develop everything with Finns inside Finland, and then at some point think you are ready to go international. You need to start from day one to be international. I would expect that this mindset will be spread more, then we can truly have global companies in our country, and we also get to be more inclusive with international talents and appreciate their potential which is still quite untapped.”
Mari Taverne – Senior Business Advisor at Business Tampere, is no less delighted about the event, and by the solid foundation set with it towards the future for Tampere.
“Our point of view is that we can’t do the talent attraction and retention alone, we need to collaborate with other cities and especially with the government. We are very happy that the Talent Boost Programme has been launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and that gives us a backbone to develop an international ecosystem in Tampere, for a more open labour market.”
Tampere was regarded by many participants as a developmental reference in the domain in question, for other Finnish city-regions and beyond. Mari Taverne affirms:
“When we go outside of the capital area, I think Tampere is of the best options for internationals. Tampere also has the advantage of having a varied economic setting. We’re also impulsing our start-up ecosystem. And when we think about the Talent Boost Agenda, we also have a good position to keep on attracting international talents. Because we offer a dynamic and fulfilling city life, with lots of professional and personal opportunities.”
Moreover, besides an already outstanding international networking capacity in Tampere, emphasis is being gradually placed on creating more services for international talents and companies alike.
“We aim to have much more tangible services for international talents and companies in the future. Networking is very good by now, and it is beneficial that we enhance the networking, but we also need to deliver more concrete services. So that local companies could smoothly access these talent networks and find the talent that they are looking for. And that international talents feel welcome all the way and have useful services available to direct their career paths with relative ease."
In essence, from what we could perceive “Talent Boost” is about finding synergies and empowering each other, with all, for all. The collective journey has just begun; it will continue and it shall also lead to another vibrant Talent Boost Summit next year.