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 2017, the unemployment rate in Helsinki was 21.0 per cent among foreign-mother-tongue residents and 10.4 per cent among the population as a whole. The 9,797 foreign-mother-tongue 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 2016, the unemployment rate of residents with foreign background in Helsinki was 24.1 per cent and their employment rate among 20–64 year-olds 50.5 per cent. The unemployment rate of residents with Finnish background was 10.0 per cent and the employment rate 75.1 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 21.7 per cent, and their employment rate among 20–64-year-olds was 57.1 per cent. Elsewhere in Finland, the proportions were 29.8 per cent and 48.0 per cent.
At the end of 2016 the number of unemployed residents with foreign background in Helsinki was 11,225, of whom 52 per cent were men. The number rose by 47 persons from the previous year, but the unemployment rate declined. 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 2016.
The employment rate of 20-64-year-old population with foreign background was 54.0 per cent among men and 46.6 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 the year 2015, 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 and translators.
In many occupational groups, the proportion of foreign-background employees is considerable. In 2015 this proportion was almost 50 per cent among office and establishment cleaners as well as bus or tram drivers. Among restaurant managers and house builders, it was over one-third.