An i Herlin: Finns should work more hours. based on this open-minded attitude toward new innovations." A touch of patriotism In addition to fervent enthusiasm, knowledge and skills are also needed. Herlin praises the comprehensive school system, which is one of the best in the world, but, on the other hand, laments that Finland's universities don't enjoy similar international acclaim. "Trade and industry strongly support the project to create a new innovation university in Helsinki. We need to consolidate resources to create an internationally competitive university." In general, surveys measuring competitiveness point to the rigidity of the labour markets and taxation as Finland's weaknesses. Developing them, Herlin believes, poses a big challenge. "One of the problems with the Finnish labour market and, coincidentally, this also represents an opportunity is that there is a labour pool of a couple hundred thousand people. Surely the majority of them want to work. At the same time, many sectors are suffering from a labour shortage. The government has set out to tackle this labour mismatch problem and is confident that it can be resolved." CHANGE FORMS A PREREQUISITE FOR SUCCESS Finland is crazy about technology in a good way. Trade and industry are also driving the development of other areas of competitiveness. By Jorma Leppänen Photograph by Marjo Koivumäki New business dynamics "We must use all possible means to maintain our affluent society," says Herlin. "An active immigration policy is a future competitiveness factor. Finns should also be encouraged to start their career earlier, work more hours, and stay in the workforce beyond the current age of retirement." According to Herlin, the Finnish business world is very cognisant of the fact that people are driven by properly structured salary and incentive systems, and that they lead to higher job satisfaction. He believes that the tax authority is also starting to understand the correlation between the incentive to work and competitiveness: "It is essential for people to feel that their level of remuneration is motivating and taxation is fair." Globalisation, says Herlin, has brought plenty of new challenges especially for people at the managerial level. "If job satisfaction decreases, productivity suffers. Even so, it seems that the recession of the early 1990s taught Finns that change is necessary. With globalisation accelerating, we have learned that change is an ongoing process. Accepting this fact has been a must for success, particularly in the high-tech sectors." FOCUS 2008 13 rom the perspective of trade and industry, Finland is a good business environment, says Antti Herlin, chairman of ek, the Confederation of Finnish Industries. "A concrete sign of this is that industry, too, is investing aggressively in Finland. However, as is customary, we must constantly take care of the competitiveness of companies and the nation and not fall into the trap of deceptive selfsatisfaction." As a major owner and chairman of the board of Kone Corporation, an international engineering and service company, F Herlin sees clearly the challenges Finland faces in global competition. An international competitiveness study showed the nation's strengths to be technology, infrastructure and an efficient public sector. Herlin emphasises the significance of the pro-technology climate: "Angel Ganivet, a Spanish diplomat who lived in Helsinki in the late 1800s, wondered about the Finnish passion for technology in writings he sent to his fellow countrymen. The people took joy in and adopted the latest technological equipment as soon as it was available. I think Finland's competitiveness is still
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