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Opinion

Finland’s game and software industry needs more talent

The Finnish software industry alone will need 20 000 developers in the next few years, writes Kim Bäckroos. How can the gap be filled?

The Finnish game and software industry has had a major lack of talent for years now. The game industry could do with around 300 additional professionals, while the software industry is even worse off, requiring around 8 000 additional developers. Estimates vary, but some figures indicate that the software industry alone will need 20 000 developers in the next few years, and while the fast growth of the game industry is slowly balancing out the lack of talent still isn’t resolved. The educational system in Finland, as great as it is, currently doesn’t have the means to push out new talent fast enough to even make a dent in this shortage.

The situation is dire: without the people required to take care of companies’ specific tasks, further industry growth cannot be achieved. There’s a big difference if your team consists of top-notch professionals or if it consists of people who just barely have the required skillset to manage their tasks. This leads to slower production and sub-par products, which usually leads to less customers and less revenue.

Currently, most game companies use standard methods of recruiting, such as posting job openings on local recruitment pages and their own website. This is like applying a band aid: it helps the company in the short run but, as the talent is just being moved from company A to company B, it does little to help the local ecosystem. There are exceptions, however, mainly with larger companies doing a lot of their own focused recruitment abroad and having their own trainee programmes.

“Without the people required to take care of companies’ specific tasks, further industry growth cannot be achieved.”

Luckily, for the smaller companies without access to such resources, there is outside help at hand: agencies helping to recruit from abroad and even hosting focused talent acquisition events outside of Finland.

National and larger local business hubs have also woken up and are trying to do their part, spending huge amounts of money to promote Finland and the local business communities to foreign talent. Time will tell if they have the required expertise to pull it off. Nonetheless, we’re all rooting for their exploits to turn into a migration of talent to Finland.

While we are waiting for these results, the game and software industry also needs to activate itself. It should be more open to new ways of acquiring talent and move away from the traditional means of recruiting, as we already know it doesn’t work in the long run. There are new companies popping up, offering new ways to lure talent, but without the support of the industry they will not be around forever.

Published on 31.10.2018