The European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index 2017 confirms the country’s status as technology superpower, views Arto Pussinen, a head of industry at Finpro’s Invest in Finland.
Finland has the second most advanced digital economy in the European Union, according to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).
The country excelled in four out of the five dimensions constituting the annual composite index, coming in first overall in human capital, second in digital public services, third in digital technology integration and fifth in internet use.
“Finland is a technology superpower and these results prove it,” states Arto Pussinen, the head of ICT and digitalization at Finpro’s Invest in Finland.
ICT specialists make up 6.5% of Finnish workforce
The European Commission draws in its report particular attention to the fact that information and communications technology specialists account for 6.5 per cent of the Finnish workforce – a share that is three percentage points higher than the average in the EU-28.
“ICT specialists’ share of the workforce is extremely high in Finland,” says Pussinen. “The difference to other member states is considerable. This shows that the country is the right location for technologically advanced activities.”
Finland is ahead of all other member states by some distance in digital skills, according to DESI 2017. It has the fourth largest share of individuals with at least basic digital skills, at 73 per cent of the population, the fifth largest share of individuals who use the web regularly, at 92 per cent of the population, and the fifth largest share of individuals with science, technology engineering or mathematics qualifications, at 2.2 per cent of the 20–29-year-old population.
ICT specialists’ share of the workforce is extremely high in Finland
First in mobile broadband take-up
The index demonstrates also how the country has recovered from the slowdown of the mobile phone sector, a key sub-sector of the information and communications technology industry, in 2014, says Pussinen.
“The pace of development in 2015–2016 shows how quickly the public economy was able to recover from the slowdown and re-distribute the resources freed up by the sector,” he explains.
The European Commission acknowledges that the country’s only relative weakness, the coverage and take-up of fixed high-speed broadband, is a result of the quality and popularity of the mobile broadband. The country, it reports, ranks first in mobile broadband take-up and third in 4G coverage among the EU-28.
“Finland is one of only a few countries in the world where flat-fee pricing is very common for mobile data. Because the mobile network works so well, people have no need for fixed broadband,” tells Pussinen.
He points out that efforts to promote corporate investments will be key in ensuring the country continues to lead the way in digitisation. “Rolls-Royce’s recent announcement that it’ll set up an R&D facility here to focus on autonomous shipping is a prime example of this. Finland is poised to digitise maritime transport,” he says.