Information technology is a growth industry. One of its key hubs is in Leppävaara, right next to Vermonniitty. Just like prospective residents, IT companies also gravitate towards attractive locations.
The IT sector is doing great. According to Technology Industries of Finland, the combined turnover of Finnish IT businesses increased by 8 per cent compared to the previous year. The sector’s growth rate also accelerated from the year before – in 2016, the growth rate was 3 per cent.
Half of the sector’s jobs are located in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Half of these, in turn, are on the shores of Laajalahti Bay, in Leppävaara, Otaniemi and Keilaniemi in Espoo and in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. Together these districts form the most significant information technology hub in Finland.
Mika Rantala, Project Director of Greater Leppävaara, mentions that IT businesses in particular grow by networking with each other. Start-up companies’ tendency to gravitate towards other businesses in the same sector increases the area’s attractiveness even further.
Thousands of IT sector employees also generate other jobs in the area, attract services there and create a demand for high-quality connections. Perhaps the most prominent symbol of the area’s attractiveness will be the fast tram Jokeri Light Rail that will link IT sector nodes to each other even more closely. Vermonniitty drives in the slipstream of these developments: it was just confirmed this summer that the neighbourhood will get its own light rail stops.
Future experts are educated near
According to a study conducted in the University of Jyväskylä, the IT sector is constantly in need of new skilled workers. Employers report needing thousands of new employees, such as quality assurance experts, project leaders and service designers.
Vermonniitty is an excellent home for IT students. The nearest IT education providers are the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Leppävaara and Aalto University in Otaniemi. Students can easily find internships nearby, and the Jokeri Light Rail tracks are surrounded by job opportunities for recent graduates.
The neighbourhood remains just as comfortable for those who graduate and begin their careers. On average, there are noticeably more inhabitants aged 18–29 in the Leppävaara area than in other subcentres in the Helsinki Region.
“Most of the population in the district are young adults. I think it creates a certain dynamic in the area,” Rantala said in the spring.
The image of an area matters to businesses
People usually move when major changes occur in their lives – they may for example find a new job. However, only one in three moves take place across municipal borders, which is why the attractivity of an individual residential area plays a larger role.
Mari Vaattovaara, Professor in Urban Geography at the University of Helsinki, stated in a recent interview by the Finnish paper Kauppalehti that the brand of a neighbourhood affects companies’ choice of location. Successful companies want to be headquartered in areas that feel safe. Simultaneously, they also participate in the creation of this feeling.
“The composition of the daytime population plays a major role: what kind of people spend time the area? Experiences of unsafety – that may not have anything to do with the neighbourhood’s actual safety – form a key part of the area’s image,” Vaattovaara told Kauppalehti.
A recent survey revealed that safety is the second most important quality Espoo residents appreciate in a neighbourhood, the most important being closeness to nature. On a general level, companies about to relocate to new premises prioritise the same factors as people who change apartment, no matter where in Finland they are: a good location, good connections, comfort, services and image. Sounds good – just like Vermonniitty!