How to attract and keep international talents, students and professionals in the Baltic Sea area was the topic of the 3rd ONE BSR (One Baltic Sea Region) Policy Round Table discussion held in Gdansk, Poland, in October. Experts and young 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.

The discussion started with the experts. 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.

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.

International talents need language courses and support for the whole family

To 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.

These young 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 in October. It was the third of four discussions that the ONE BSR project organizes on different topics.


Photo: Dita Dzene

Further information:
Executive producer, Programme Director Mia Marttiini
Tel. + 358 44 588 1717
mia.marttiini(at)forumvirium.fi

One Baltic Sea Region project aims to increase the competitiveness of the region and to strengthen the image and identity of the area. Co-operation, accountability and open dialogue will brighten the brand of Baltic Sea Region. Forum Virium Helsinki is a partner for the ONE BSR project.

The article was first published at www.onebsr.eu