Thursday’s papers: Making migration work, expensive babies, and a silent killer

This week the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said twice as many jobs went unfilled in 2017—42,000—as the year before because there weren’t any people to do them. Business magazine Kauppalehti now reports that the Finnish Chambers of Commerce is pushing to ease restrictions for non-EU workers to migrate to Finland.

Johanna Sipola, who heads the business lobby group, said labour-based migration is a necessity for the Finnish economy to thrive.

At the moment, Finland prioritises hiring job applicants who are citizens of an EU member state or a country that is a part of the European Economic Area.

Martti Hetemäki, the Finance Ministry’s most senior civil servant, argued last week that the marginalisation of young men and their inability to secure employment is strongly contributing to Finland’s dwindling birth rate. But senior researcher Anneli Miettinen at Finland’s social insurance agency Kela shoots down that rationale in business magazine Talouselämä.

If Finland wants more citizens, women’s standing in the job market should improve, she said, backing up her claim with studies showing that young women in the 25-34 age group disproportionately work from one short-term contract assignment to the next, while men in the same age range enjoy more stable footing in the workforce. Miettinen also pointed out that women bear the financial cost of having a family, as they are the ones who leave the workforce and suffer income loss.

The age of first-time mothers continues to climb, reaching 29.2 years in Finland last year, according to Statistics Finland.

In health news, pancreatic cancer is claiming an increasing number of lives in Finland, reports national daily Helsingin Sanomat. Physicians diagnose around a thousand new cases in the country every year, and while the underlying cause continues to elude medical researchers, evidence points to obesity in young adulthood as being a key contributing factor.

Pancreatic cancer is known a silent killer as symptoms only become apparent once the disease has advanced substantially, lowering survival rates. From 2011-2015, some 5,300 Finns lost their lives to pancreatic cancer, up from 3,000 in the 1981-85 period, according to the Finnish Cancer Registry.

New legislation approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday caps the price of phone calls to other EU countries at 19 cents and at six cents for text messages from 15 May 2019, reports regional daily Turun Sanomat.

In Finland, a 24 percent VAT charge will be added to these prices.

Once ratified by member states, local teleoperators will be legally mandated to adjust their pricing.