Skip to content

Chemical Industry – Mysterious Factory Work or Diverse Opportunities?

The allure of the chemical industry has not increased among young people; in fact, it has slightly diminished, according to the Youth and Economy NOW’s Future Report 2023, conducted by Taloustutkimus. When asked which fields young people would consider working in, the most popular ones were healthcare, tourism and hospitality, the arts, culture, and entertainment, as well as the retail sector. In these fields, 20-22 percent of young people could consider working. For the chemical industry, the same percentage was 8, whereas two years earlier, it was 10 percent. The least interest among young people was in the public sector, real estate, cleaning, and religious work.

The results are concerning but not surprising. The past couple of years have been marked by the pandemic, which has further reduced young people’s opportunities to form positive perceptions of the working world through various work experience programs, internships, and company visits. The Future Report reveals that young people’s interest has decreased the most in the healthcare sector (7 percent), even though the sector still firmly holds the top spot. This is not surprising, given the harsh news about the work of healthcare professionals during the pandemic.

The most important message for the chemical industry from the Future Report is that the sector is still relatively unknown among young people. The most popular fields are those that young people have strong perceptions of and that are part of their everyday lives. Here, the chemical industry still has work to do, although it is understandable that work in closed production facilities may not be as well-known as, for example, the retail sector. Perceptions of industry and chemistry may involve stuffy thoughts of belching factories and highly educated doctors in white lab coats, even though the sector offers much more.

The Best Aspects of the Chemical Industry:

Diverse career and advancement opportunities Internationality A significant player in promoting green transition in society Competitive compensation How can we, as an industry, develop young people’s perceptions and increase their understanding of, for example, the role of the chemical industry in sustainable development and the green transition? Without chemistry, the transition to a sustainable society cannot happen.

How young people can learn more about the industry:

One way is to further increase various internships, apprenticeships, and work experience programs in the workplace. A familiarization period at a chemical industry company would undoubtedly give many young people a better understanding of the crucial role the chemical industry plays in society and the diverse jobs available in the field. What if we made even more active use of alumni networks and conveyed the message to educational institutions and young people about the career paths in our companies? Or could more companies use social media and channels familiar to young people in their communication?

The chemical industry is still relatively unknown to young people, but it is important to be able to lift the veil of mystery even further. This is one of the most significant ways to ensure that we continue to find enthusiastic young people to work in our industry in the future.