chapter  6
15 Pages

Finland

ByJUHA HIETANEN, FRANZ TRAXLER

According to Statistics Finland, the total number of registered companies was around 230,400 in 2003. The number of companies increased throughout the 1980s until the year 1990. Then the depression made their number decline until 1994, when it was at its lowest level, i.e. 184,931. One reason for this development was the structural changes that had already taken place earlier. An example of this was the disappearance of small retailers in the rural areas. After the deep recession during the early 1990s, Finland has seen rapid economic growth, boosted by production of electro-technical equipment (which has quintupled) and communications equipment (which is now 13 times higher than before). The number of enterprises has taken an upward turn from 1995. The most rapid growth period was from 1995 to 1998. Old companies were replaced by new, innovative ones with growth potential, as the resources of the economy were allocated towards more productive use than earlier. The growth in the number of companies has accelerated, since the big companies and the public sector have outsourced activities. Likewise, the development of employment refl ects the business cycle. The number of employees decreased by about 40,000 during 1990-94; after this, dependent employment increased rapidly until 2001, in particular in the IT sector. In 2001, the number of employees in companies was 1,298,198.1

As regards fi rm size, Finland belongs to the group of countries which most resemble the EU average (Table 2.1). Regardless of this, there are some deviations from this average, as a more detailed inquiry shows. In comparison to the EU-15, micro fi rms and small companies record a smaller proportion of employment, whereas medium-sized companies, a higher one. Furthermore, the number as well as the scale of employment in large companies is above the average. The same applies to the relative number of big multinational companies. Headed by Nokia, there are eleven Finnish companies among Europe’s 500 largest businesses. They mainly belong to the manufacturing sector, with a preponderance of pulp and paper, metalworking and steel. This sector profi le corresponds with the country’s export structure. The metal-working industries cover over a half of exports, and

the share of electronics alone was 32 per cent in 2000. The traditionally important forest industry is responsible for about 10 per cent.