EK Labour Force and Training Survey: Language skills are a competitive asset in working life


In working life, collaboration in international networks requires diverse language skills.

Many businesses operating in Finland belong to international corporations, which may have locations on several continents. At the same time, local work communities in Finland have become multicultural, including speakers of many languages.

Language skills are a business requirement not only for large international corporations but also everyday life in small and medium-sized businesses.  Many start up businesses again are born global, directly targeting international markets.

The need for language skills has also expanded across different personnel groups. In addition to management and specialists, language skills are now a requirement at the operational level as part of the basic professional skill set.

Need for Russian on the rise

Today, the most common languages used in the Confederation of Finnish Industries’ (EK) member companies are Finnish, English, Swedish and Russian.  At present, almost one third of all EK member companies need to use the Russian language in their business. 70 per cent of these companies find that Russian will be needed more and more in the future. In addition, the Russian language will in the future be needed by one quarter of the companies that do not use it today.

EK emphasizes that language studies should be started as early as possible. This provides a good premise for developing solid language skills. Learning languages playfully at an early age builds the foundation for a positive attitude toward other languages and cultures.

Read more: Language skills (pdf)