“Finland’s social structures and the recruitment practices employed by organisations do not support work-based immigration sufficiently. We have not quite yet understood how important this issue really is,” says Ted Apter, Special Advisor for Suomen Ekonomit.
The internationalisation of work communities has gone a long way in many Finnish fields. In Helsinki, more than half of all new companies are established by foreign nationals.
“Several studies indicate that diverse teams of this kind are substantially more innovative and productive than fully Finnish teams,” Apter says.
For example, Canada and Switzerland have grasped the significance of diverse labour and created effective processes for immigration. These kinds of processes are also needed in Finland.
Impact through discussions and partnerships
Securing employment for international professionals and drawing growth companies to Finland are important goals for Suomen Ekonomit. They benefit the academically educated members and, at the same time, Finnish society at large.
In order to promote the matter through concrete action, Suomen Ekonomit has joined the Inklusiiv organisation as a support member and began collaboration with the the International Working Women of Finland (IWWOF) association.
Established in 2019, Inklusiiv disseminates information about diversity, equality and inclusivity, and assists organisations in converting these values into action.
IWWOF is a network of highly-educated working women with some 5,000 members.
“These partnerships open up a wealth of amazing opportunities for us,” Ted Apter says, pleased about the prospects.
What do international members say?
In late spring 2021, Suomen Ekonomit conducted a survey among all members who have chosen English as their service language.
The survey included respondents from 24 different countries. Four out of five respondents had lived in Finland for at least five years or longer.
Among the respondents, 86% were employed, 4% were entrepreneurs and 7% were unemployed. Four out of five felt that their job matched their education.
The respondents were asked to describe the factors that had most impacted their ability to find employment to match their education. Networks, studies in Finland and luck or coincidence emerged as the most prominent factors in the responses to the open questions. “Partially luck, partially networking,” one respondent said in summary.
Generally speaking, the respondents felt the most important factors to be networking with locals (80% of the respondents), language proficiency (70% of the respondents) and networking with international experts (56% of the respondents).
The most important ones of the union’s services were thought to be salary counselling, provision of information on the Finnish labour market, and job seeking support. Suomen Ekonomit also provides all of these services in English. For example, you can learn more about Salary Radar in the member app, English-language working life courses and job seeking services .
60% of the respondents were certain that they would still be working in Finland in five years’ time. 30% were uncertain, and the remaining 10% were inclined towards leaving Finland.