The most recent statistical data on the employment situation of residents with foreign background is found in the Ministry of Employment and the Economy’s employment service statistics that are compiled monthly from the registers of the Employment and Economic Development Offices. In December 2016, the unemployment rate in Helsinki was 24.4 per cent among foreign-mother-tongue residents and 12.3 per cent among the population as a whole. The 10,766 foreign-background unemployed made up no less than one-quarter of all unemployed people in Helsinki.

The most recent register-based statistical data on the employment and unemployment of residents with foreign background are found in Statistics Finland’s employment statistics. At the end of 2015, the unemployment rate of residents with foreign background in Helsinki was 25.3 per cent and their employment rate among 20–64 year-olds 49.8 per cent. The unemployment rate of residents with Finnish background was 10.3 per cent and the employment rate 74.5 per cent. The registers include some people who in reality no longer live in Finland, which reduces the employment rate of residents with foreign background to some extent.

Elsewhere in the Helsinki Region the unemployment rate of residents with foreign background was 22.8 per cent, and their employment rate among 20–64-year-olds was 56.7 per cent. Elsewhere in Finland, the proportions were 27.5 per cent and 50.9 per cent.

At the end of 2015 the number of unemployed residents with foreign background in Helsinki was 11,178, of whom 52 per cent were men. The number rose by 561 persons from the previous year, but the unemployment rate stayed the same. In recent years the unemployment rate has grown more among population with foreign background than other people. However, in the early 2000s the unemployment and employment rates of population with foreign background were at the same level than in 2015.

The employment rate of 20-64-year-old population with foreign background was 52.9 per cent among men and 46.2 among women. The employment rate of men is highest in the age group of 25–54-year olds and that of women in the age group of 45–54-year-olds. The employment rates of residents with foreign and Finnish background differ more among women than men.

Higher education does not protect residents with a foreign mother tongue from unemployment as efficiently as Finnish- and Swedish-speaking residents. The unemployment rate among residents with a foreign mother tongue remains fairly constant regardless of their education.

The employment situation of residents with foreign background varies greatly with background country. While some nationality groups have come to Finland mainly in search of work, others have come as refugees. Residents with refugee background have had more difficulties in finding a job than other people. Those born in Sweden and Estonia as well as elsewhere in the Western Europe had the highest employment rate.

At the end of 2015, just over one fifth of 20−29-year-olds with a foreign mother tongue were outside the labour force and not enrolled for full-time studies nor performing (non-)military service. Of all 20−29-year-olds outside the labour force, education and (non-)military service, 40 per cent had a foreign mother tongue. However, some of those outside the labour force may be taking care of children at home or may not live in Finland any more.

At the end of the year 2014, half of employed population with foreign background in Helsinki were employed in either administration and support services, health or social care services, accommodation and food services or wholesale and retail trade.

The statistical occupational groups of “service or sales workers” and “professionals” were prominent in the occupational structure of both foreign- and Finnish-background Helsinki residents. Professionals included, for example, university teachers, application planners, translators and marketing experts.

In many occupational groups, the proportion of foreign-background employees is considerable. In 2014 this proportion was almost 50 per cent among office and establishment cleaners as well as bus or tram drivers. Among restaurant managers, housekeeping supervisors and house builders, it was over one-third.