Seppänen: let’s attract young smart Europeans to Estonia (2)
Eestlased Eestis 22 Oct 2012  EWR
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Toomas Hõbemägi, Baltic Business News 22.10.2012,
Estonia must make itself attractive as a workplace to young Europeans, believes Sami Seppänen, chairman of Elisa Eesti.

Seppänen wrote in Äripäev: “Opposite to what it was before, young people today choose a place of residence first and only then start looking for a suitable job.

In my business, telecommunications, some jobs take a really long time to fill. It could be between 6 and 12 months to find, for instance, a suitable software programmer, developer or project manager.

The Estonian state must take a hard look at the labour shortage in the IT industry. We have both unemployment and lack of workforce so there must be a possibility to reduce the gap in employment by designing new curricula or planning retraining of employees.

Every state must be interested in increasing employment. In terms of curriculum, the state can do a lot more cooperation with the private sector. Speaking of labour, I would like to start with young people – and not only from Estonia, but from Europe.

Do we know whether young jobseekers from Europe actually consider Estonia? Is the Estonian living environment seems attractive enough for young people so that they would like to live here? Has the state has done enough to increase the attractiveness of Estonia for European youth?

Why I am asking this? I am convinced that while earlier young people chose a suitable work and then a place to live, it is now vice versa.
Some countries have already caught on this. For instance, the videoclip promoting City of Stockholm as a living environment has been watched on YouTube by more than three million times worldwide. The clip’s message is clear: “It’s great here, you’re welcome to come, too!”

Why young people from Madrid or St. Petersburg are choosing London and not Tallinn as a place to live and work? The Estonian state should start acting and analysing how competitive as Tallinn and other larger towns in Estonia and who are competing with us for young employees?

We could then find out how to differentiate and what we need to do to successfully compete with large European towns as an equal? It’s already clear that young people like to move, but the question is only where they will go and where it’s interesting for them.

Estonia is one of Europe’s smallest labour markets and is therefore extremely dynamic in employment trends. While Estonia in 2007-2008 were characterised by severe lack of workforce, situation has changed dramatically by 2009 when unemployment was 15%.

In order for Estonia to manage its dynamic labour market it’s important that the labour market is open as possible. If we remain closed, workforce deficit will soon start again restrict the economic growth, like it was five years ago.

Companies in Estonia are growing very quickly and, considering the market situation, must constantly adjust their operating modes.

This is why companies also need flexible employees who are flexible, ready to adjust, and willing to come along with changes.

I think that there are many such people among those who during their lifetime want to live in more cultures or societies than one.

If we look at the growing unemployment level among young people in Europe, it is clear that there is plenty of people who we can attract to work and live in Estonia.
In short, we are talking about three things: product, process and communication.
In the last two to three years, Estonia has done relatively well in global news so the product is good.

Where we are clearly lacking is in communication. Foreign investors and entrepreneurs like how easy and simple it is to start a business in Estonia and say it’s a world record.

But why is the process of applying and receiving work and residence permits so complicated and time-consuming in Estonia?

What we need to do is to make sure that we set a world record also in terms of issuing work and residence permits. Then also the process would be in place.”

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