Immigrants’ guide to finding a job in Helsinki. Finding employment in the city of Helsinki, Finland is not a walk in the park, both for native or non-native Finns.
This guide is geared towards first, second, and third-generation Finns who are unemployed. Those who are looking to move to Helsinki City may also find this article useful.
I will be discussing important information for unemployed residents of Helsinki looking to join the thriving workforce. For example, crucial steps for job search, various means of getting employed, Finnish work culture and labor market and various other things to keep in mind during your job search.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of finding a job in Helsinki, Finland. Let’s take a close look first at some of the current issues facing immigrants to Helsinki regarding job seeking.
Immigrants attitude towards job search
Most residents of Helsinki that are non-natives of Finland are of the opinion that “many companies in Helsinki prefer to hire native over non-natives Finns”. Consequently, relenting in their effort to search for a job. See this article on Yle News.
It is important to note that every company have the right to hire who they deem fit for the job. In other words, if they think hiring a native for the job will add value to the company than hiring a non-native — they are not wrong in doing so.
How difficult is it for an immigrant to find a job?
Immigrants living in Helsinki face a number of challenges, not the least of which is getting hired. Even though each year, the number of highly qualified immigrants increases, the statistics demonstrate that entering the labor market is not always an easy feat.
In fact, the employment and unemployment rate of immigrants in Finland remains drastically different than those of native Finns.
Several factors are responsible for this trend. For example, first-generation Finns have a significantly more difficult time validating their credentials and face low recognition of the same. As a result, highly qualified individuals will find employment in jobs with low education requirements and receive pay that is often below their educational qualification.
Another challenge for first-generation Finns in finding employment is the fact that they lack Finnish language skills, detailed knowledge of the Finnish labor market, and a robust contact base. How to survive in Helsinki without Finnish Language Skills
Other factors that are thought to play a role in this phenomenon include the immigrant’s country of origin, their native tongue, and how visible they represent their immigrant status. However, the impact that these factors have decreased substantially as immigrants become established in Finnish society.
Thus, second-generation immigrants generally have better chances of finding adequate employment as a native Finn would.
One particularly influential factor with which immigrants often concern themselves is the visibility of their foreigner status. In other words, how easy it is for native Finns to detect at a glance that an individual has a foreign parent.
The most telling characteristic is almost always the name, religion, skin color, etc. Finnish names are very peculiar, and individuals with foreign-sounding names stand out like a sore thumb.
Immigrants often concern themselves with this fact. Some even choose to name their children with more native sounding names in order to fit into the Finnish society.
Is it discrimination if a company prefers to hire Finns with Finnish names?
Like i said earlier, it is a matter of “choice”. I see nothing wrong if i decide to hire an individual i feel more connected and comfortable with. If that will add more value to my company i.e. revenue, then that leaves me with no other choice.
However, nowadays in Helsinki, it is not uncommon to find foreign names in high-paying positions, whether or not it is a Finnish owned company.
Should immigrants’ be angry about being discriminated against during job hiring?
Immigration is never easy. It doesn’t matter where you are from, nor does it matter where you are moving to. The process of arriving at a new country, adapting to a new society, is difficult. In as much as the fact that discrimination based solely on a foreigner status is not acceptable, and it shouldn’t be acceptable anywhere on the planet. This doesn’t mean immigrants should think they are being discriminated against because they can’t seem to find a suitable job in Helsinki.
Besides, in Finland, discrimination is a crime, and equality is a fundamental human right.
Why Helsinki for work?
First of all, let me preface this by saying that if you are living in Helsinki, you have made the right choice. Helsinki is the capital city of Finland — more job opportunities than the rest of Finland, a safe and diverse working environment.
Finnish society is based around the tenets of high-level education and hard work. The foundations of Helsinki’s current prosperity is built upon the success of the export industry and the booming service industry. Helsinki is also poised as a cutting-edge vanguard of technological advancement in Europe.
Moreover, the native population is aging rapidly. The labor markets of the future will rely heavily on a knowledgeable and ably prepared immigrant workforce. In the coming years, a bounty of job offers will open up, mainly in the services and health care fields.
Immigrants’ guide to finding a job in Helsinki
The following are steps that will help you in finding work in Helsinki.
First, start your job search by making a 30-day list of every possible channel that will lead you to find a job in Helsinki. Be active and make use of the following available avenues for job search. This includes:
- Family and friends
- Finnish newspapers
- Job fairs
- Online job listings
- Unemployment office
- Notice boards
- Networking events
- Social Media
Use Google sheet and insert the list above into rows. Number your columns from 1 to 30 (i.e. 30 days). Name the first tab “month 1”. Add another tab and repeat the same process you did for the first tab and name it month 2. Do the same for month 3 until you have 12 months.
Go through your list one after the other every day and check off every possible lead/activity that you have done. For example, if you searched for a job online using the Finnish labor administration website, check it off in the Google sheet you created. If you visited the unemployment office, check it off, etc.
By the way, if you are unemployed in Helsinki, it is mandatory to inform the unemployment office in your area that you are unemployed — this just goes to show how organized Finland is.
While searching for a job, tailor your resume to fit the job description. For example, you should identify what you think is most important for the company and match the content of the resume with the job description.
If you are confident in yourself, make a video resume. You may stand out doing so as some employers find it unique and intriguing.
Other means of finding employment in Helsinki
Job experience placement
In Helsinki, there is a system in place that gives you the opportunity to earn valuable Finnish work experience, and you may qualify for Finnish labor market support. You can apply for job experience placement online through the Finnish labor administration website.
If you are studying, you can apply for an apprenticeship position in companies where your skill sets may be needed. You can combine your study and work within a duration of 1 to 4 years depending on your field of study.
If you are unemployed, a good way to get your foot in the door is through “volunteering to work” for free in a company where your job skills may be required.
Another system in place for the residents of Helsinki is work try-out. An efficient means to gain employment in any company in Helsinki — especially for foreigners who lack Finnish language skills, work experience or looking for an opportunity to showcase their skill sets.
If you are registered with the employment agency in Helsinki, they can advise you about companies that will hire you for 6-10 months, during which you will receive some sort of financial support from the Finnish labor market agency.
I hope you have benefited from this “Immigrants’ guide to finding a job in Helsinki.” If i missed out on any important point, do not hesitate to call my attention to it.
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