Technology industry back in growth, but Finland’s long road to recovery is only beginning
The turnover of technology industry companies in Finland totalled almost EUR 69 billion in 2016. This is about one-half per cent higher than in 2015.
Turnover expanded at a gradually accelerating pace towards the end of 2016, and has continued to do so in early 2017 across all main sectors. The number of requests for tender received by technology industry companies also developed positively.
“The situation in Finland is slowly improving, due to the Competitiveness Pact for example. Companies are sending signals on an improved ability to negotiate tenders and gain new orders,” says Jorma Turunen, the CEO of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries.
The monetary value of new orders received by technology industry companies between January and March was 13 per cent higher than in the corresponding period in 2016. At the end of March, the value of order books was three per cent higher than at the end of December.
“Judging from order trends in recent months, the turnover of technology industry companies is expected to be higher in the spring of 2017 than in the corresponding period last year,” Turunen estimates.
Finland trailing Sweden by EUR 40 billion
Sweden has emerged from the 2008 financial crisis as one of the most robust economies in Europe. Technology Industries of Finland have calculated that Finland’s GDP would be EUR 40 billion higher today had it grown at the same pace as Sweden’s between 2009 and 2016.
“There is a lot of catching up to do. The low level of investments in recent years does not make it any easier,” Turunen says.
Recruitment picking up
The number of personnel employed by technology industry companies in Finland totalled some 288,000 at the end of March. Personnel increased by less than one per cent from the 2016 average. Temporary or part-time lay-offs affected 7,000 employees.
“Technology industry companies’ recruitment activities picked up markedly in early 2017. They recruited 11,000 new employees between January and March. In 2016, total recruitments came to 28,500. Some companies were increasing their personnel, while others were hiring new employees due to retirements and employee turnover,” Turunen states.
Staff employed by Finnish technology industry companies’ foreign subsidiaries increased by 12 per cent in 2016. At the same time, staff numbers in Finland fell by approximately one per cent. Finnish technology industry companies employed a total of 571,000 people in 2016, half of them in Finland and the remaining half abroad.
Strong expansion in health technology
Health technology is expanding at an accelerating pace, boosted by new players and start-ups.
Veli Mäkelä, Vice President, Administration & Business Development at Planmeca Group says that Planmeca invests heavily in own R&D and manufacturing in Finland. He also acts as the Chairman of the Finnish Health Technology Association (FiHTA).
“Planmeca consistently invests 10 per cent of its income in R&D, focusing on solutions that facilitate patient care,” Mäkelä says.
Health services are transforming, and IoT solutions play an important role in the shift. Device connectivity and software integration through open interfaces are essential.
“Testbeds and product development environments, such as those of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), make it easy for start-ups to participate in health technology development,” Mäkelä emphasises.
Jorma Turunen, CEO, tel. +358 500 445 444
Eeva-Liisa Inkeroinen, Executive Vice President, tel. +358 400 894 220
Jukka Palokangas, Chief Economist, tel. +358 (0)40 750 5469
Veli Mäkelä, Vice President, Administration & Business Development, Planmeca Group, tel. +358 400 207 707