How to keep talents in the Baltic Sea Region

How to attract and keep international talents, students and professionals in the Baltic Sea area was the topic of the 3rd ONE BSR Policy Round Table discussion held in Gdansk, Poland, on 18 October. Experts and talents were brought to the same table to discuss the challenges of keeping international talents in the area, and finding solutions for better co-operation.

3PRT_experts_Dita-Dzene_200xThe Policy Round Table started with Marcus Andersson, the Head of Research and International Projects at Tendensor, a place-branding consultancy in Scandinavia, who spoke about talent retention in the Baltic Sea Region, the current policies and best practice initiatives. Mr. Andersson was followed by Mikko Toivonen, the Head of the career services at the University of Helsinki, who presented some results from Helsinki on how to overcome the language barrier.
– Presentation by Marcus Andersson: Talent retention efforts in the BSR
– Presentation by Mikko Toivonen: Talent Retention in the Helsinki Region, Overcoming the Language Barrier

Anne Weiss from the mv4you-agency spoke about retaining specialists and professionals in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Germany. The experts’ session was closed with Dr. Vytautas Petrauskas, from Vilnius University, who presented collaborative EU scientific projects and the salaries in Eastern and Western Europe.
– Presentation by Anne Weiss: Retention of Specialists and Professionals in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
– Presentation by Dr. Vytautas Petrauskas: Collaborative EU scienti c projects and the salaries in Eastern and Western Europe

International talents need language courses and support for the whole family

3PRT_talents2_Dita-Dzene_150xTo tell the story from the talents’ side, ONE BSR had invited four talents who have moved from outside the Baltic Sea area into the region, or moved to other countries within the region due to their careers. Marvin Lubega, originally from Uganda, is currently living and studying in Lund, Sweden. Anna Koptina from Russia has completed her post doc research in Germany and Sweden, and is at the moment working in Uppsala, Sweden.

Timo Hämäläinen from Finland has studied in Tallinn, Estonia, and was an intern in Berlin, Germany. Maciek Kuropatwinski from Poland is now back in his hometown Gdansk after several years of studying and interning in different cities in Germany.

These talents shared their experiences in moving around and living in the Baltic Sea region. In many cases, the lack of local language skills caused some problems: It is hard to get a job if you don’t know the local language. In some cities you may even receive information about immigration written in the local language.

Besides, the talents often bring along their family or partner, and it is challenging for them to feel at home as well. There should be more support programs for both the talents and their families, because if their families are happy, the talents will stay longer.

Image of the region becomes more important

Overall, the discussion showed that it is not enough anymore that the university or the workplace is interesting – the city itself must be appealing as well. Especially because young people are nowadays citizens of the world, they can go anywhere they want to go. To retain them in the region and to attract the best talents, we have to keep the Baltic Sea area interesting, and market it as a cool and attractive place.

The Policy Round Table was organized on the occasion of the annual ScanBalt Forum on 16-18 October. It had been the third of four discussions that the ONE BSR project organizes on different topics.

3PRT_talents1_Dita-Dzene_500xPhotos: Dita Dzene