Why Young Talent are Leaving Finland for Major Capitals

Youths in Helsinki / Giuseppe Milo / Flickr
Youths in Helsinki / Giuseppe Milo / Flickr
Jessica Wood

Finland has produced many top innovators, provides free higher education, and is ranked as one of the best places in the world to live. Why then are so many of Finland’s talented and well educated young professionals leaving the country to live and work abroad?

Almost 2,000 Finnish citizens migrated out of the country in 2015, four times the amount in 2009. The likelihood of them returning to their home country is also decreasing rapidly. A survey by The Independent reported that only 19% of Finns aged 20 to 40 living abroad considered returning home as an option, down by 20% from 2006.

The reason is that despite Finland’s firm footing in many areas, the country’s population is still incredibly small at only 5.5 million and birth rates are declining. This means employment opportunities are more difficult to come by, especially in niche industries or small towns. Young people who are entering the work force are given no choice but to move abroad to major capitols such as Copenhagen, Berlin, Dubai, London, or New York to advance their careers. State-funded higher education and foreign language classes in the school curriculum make them more than qualified for the foreign job market.

This loss of young talent begins a vicious cycle in Finland which can only result in the problem becoming worse. With more skilled professionals leaving, industry in Finland suffers and more companies close down or move elsewhere. The local economy is affected which results in government cutbacks and increased taxes, which only prompts more young people to move abroad. A high number of academics have already left Finland in protest against education cutbacks.

The obvious solution is to invite more foreign professionals into Finland to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, despite its preferable living conditions, Finland has one of the lowest rates of immigration within the EU. Fewer than 70,000 residence permits were issued in the past year, according to the Finnish Immigration Service. The majority of people immigrating to Finland are doing so for family reasons or to gain asylum, not to find work.

Finland’s stance on free education to train a skilled work force actually backfires in this situation, since many jobs in Finland include a graduate degree as an entry level requirement. Immigrants who couldn’t afford higher education in their own countries find it harder to compete in the tough Finnish job market against those who gained their education for no cost. Foreign students aren’t charged a tuition fee to attend a Finnish university, but they do have to pay for their living expenses out of their own pockets.

If this cycle continues, it could have dire consequences for Finland’s economy and society, with fewer people to care or pay for the ageing population. It is yet to be seen how this will affect Finland’s glowing innovations or idealistic society in coming decades.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.