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Finland: a snapshot of digital skills


Finland ranks 1st out of 27 EU Member States in the 2022 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Finland continues to be the frontrunner of the EU countries on the indicators tracking human capital. The percentage of employed individuals working as ICT specialists in Finland surpasses the EU average by almost 3 points (7.4% against 4.5%), ICT graduates in Finland account for 7.5% of all graduates, and the share of companies providing ICT training to their employees is almost double the EU average. Finland’s digital skills level is well above the EU average: 79% of the population have basic skills, compared to the EU average of 54%. 

Microsoft's Digital Futures Index measures the digitalization level of 16 European countries, including Finland. The Index provides information on the current state of a country's digitalization and identifies both the areas where it has been most successful and those where there is still work to be done to speed up the digital transformation process. The level of digitalization is measured across five categories of digital development: Digital Business, Digital Government and Public Sector, Digital Infrastructure, Digital Sector, and Human Capital. The overall score of Finland’s digital development is 162, which is above the frontrunner average (158) and CEE average (100).  

There is no National Coalition in Finland. Nevertheless, the country actively contributes to the development of digital landscape in many spheres. 

Overview of state strategies and national initiatives 

State strategies 

Finland’s Digital Progress Programme (Digiohjelma) was established in 2020 and it ended on March 31, 2023. The Programme aimed to increase the technology and digitalization capabilities of the public sector and to develop cooperation between the public and private sector.  Overview of results of the Programme (in English) is available here, while the final evaluation report can be found here (in Finnish). Moreover, Finland continues to implement the Digivisio 2030 Programme and Artificial Intelligence 4.0 Programme which encourages the development and the use of AI in companies.  

In addition, Finland’s digital compass – national strategic roadmap extending to 2030 that provides an overview of Finland’s digital transformation. It sets national targets for the effective use of digital systems, so that Finland can succeed in the ongoing transformation.  Government report on Finland’s digital compass is published in Finnish, but according to the website, it will be available in English.  

National initiatives  

Finland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan consists of 39 investments and 18 reforms, supported by €2.1 billion in grants. 50% of the plan will support climate objectives and 27 % of the plan will support the digital transition. Finland's recovery and resilience plan allocates funds for various initiatives to facilitate the country's digital transition. One aspect of the plan involves investing €50 million in the development of high-speed broadband infrastructure across Finland. Additionally, the plan provides €85 million to support the Digirail project, which aims to implement the European Rail Traffic Management System on the entire national railway network by 2040. This project also involves the establishment of the 4G and 5G-based Future Railway Mobile Communication System. The plan further includes €100 million to promote digital innovations in social welfare and healthcare services, €46 million for investments in continuous learning, and €25 million to accelerate the development of key technologies such as microelectronics, 6G, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. Moreover, the plan dedicates €20 million to streamline work- and education-based immigration processes and facilitate international recruitment. 

‘Digitalisation’ projects focus on areas such as: 

  • rail transport digitalisation (Digirail project) 

  • high-speed internet connections throughout the country 

  • further investments in leading edge technologies: 6G networks, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and microelectronics 

  • real-time economy: digital, real-time business processes, e.g. saving receipts and invoices in a standard, machine-readable format 

  • investments in research on cyber and information security. 

OdigO: 'The Skillful Tutors of Adults’ and Aging Population’s Digital Competences to Lapland' Project is coordinated by the University of Lapland, with the support of the Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The project’s implementation started in 2021, and it will end on 1st August 2023. Despite Finland's top ranking in Human Capital according to DESI 2022, there is still a significant challenge in ensuring digital inclusion for older individuals. Thus, this project aimed to increase Lapland residents’ awareness of supporting the digital skills of adults and aging populations, through an online programme for seniors. The programme is based on informed research and is accessible to anyone interested in the topic. More information about the project can be found on the website.  

Funding opportunities 

Funding opportunities for upskilling and reskilling to support the digital competences of individuals and organizations are available in the form of loans, grants, and financial instruments. For the period 2021 – 2026, most of the activities in digital transformation are financed through Recovery and Resilience facility but also as activities in Horizon, Erasmus+, ESIF and EEA grant schemes. You may find more on the page of Finland's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and in the article on the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform

Briefs details

Digital technology / specialisation
Geographic scope - Country
Geographical sphere
National initiative