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Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s roundtable strengthens dialogue on equality in working life

Government Communications Department
Publication date 18.3.2024 16.04 | Published in English on 18.3.2024 at 16.44
Press release 120/2024
Kuvassa pääministeri Petteri Orpo ja yhdenvertaisuuden pyöreän pöydän osallistujia

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and representatives of key immigrant organisations, human rights organisations, municipalities, businesses and labour market organisations met on 18 March to discuss concrete measures to ensure equality in a diversifying Finland.

The main theme of the event was working life, and discussions focused strongly on the future. The topic of equality was approached from the perspectives of access to work, everyday life in the workplace and work-life balance. Discussions also explored the realisation of equality and diversity in relation to developments in society more broadly.

“Every child and every adult in Finland should be able to trust that they will be treated fairly and have equal opportunities to study, pursue their hobbies, be successful and get involved in politics regardless of where their family comes from or what they look like,” Prime Minister Orpo said.

“All of us adults are responsible for making this a reality. And, of course, the Government has a particular responsibility. It is also about Finland’s success: our skills and strengths lie in the fact that everyone in Finland is able to use their potential to benefit our country. This must also be the case in the future. I am very pleased with the discussion we had here today,” the Prime Minister continued.

The share of people with foreign backgrounds in the total population of Finland has grown significantly over the course of the 2000s. According to some forecasts, the number of people with foreign backgrounds in Finland will reach one million by 2040. At the same time, studies show that people belonging to ethnic minorities experience discrimination in education and working life.

Three workshops were held to explore solutions in preparation for the roundtable discussion. These were attended by around 60 experts working with ethnic minorities and working life issues, including representatives from labour market organisations, municipalities, immigrant organisations and communities. The main outcomes of the workshops were formulated as starting points for the discussion with the Prime Minister.

Based on the discussion led by the Prime Minister, at least the following measures to promote equality and wellbeing in working life will be taken up for further work and examination:

  1. Developing incentives for employers to recruit people of different backgrounds
  2. Improving the ability of immigrant entrepreneurs to cope with administration and strengthening other guidance services for immigrant entrepreneurs 
  3. Promoting networking and e.g. on-the-job training among students, especially higher education students, with incentives provided by e.g. student organisations 
  4. Drawing up a strategy to improve Finland’s ability to retain professionals who receive training here 
  5. Facilitating equality planning, not through obligations but through support, e.g. by offering materials that different parties already have free of charge

The Prime Minister’s roundtable discussion was organised as part of the project overseeing the implementation of the government equality statement. The outcome of the discussion will be taken into account when deciding on the next steps for the project. The goal is to organise roundtable discussions with the Prime Minister on an annual basis.

Inquiries: Jouni Varanka, Head of Unit, Chair of the cross-administrative project group, tel. +358 295 160 177, and Katriina Nousiainen, Chief Specialist, Project Manager, project overseeing the implementation of the equality statement, tel. +358 295 160 735, Prime Minister’s Office

Hyvinvointi syntyy työstä Turvallinen ja kriisinkestävä oikeusvaltio
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