“Jobba” is a rather elusive animal in general. Finnish Jobba is even more quirky and hard to catch even if you are armed with education, skills, experience and open mind.
Both Finnish and international students might struggle to find work here in Finland, especially the one matching their education. Recently, Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen suggested that university funding should be distributed based on the measure of employment quality as nowadays there are several fields of study that are churning out too many unemployed.
If we speak about foreign students only, numerous graduates from Finland’s international degree programmes offered in English find themselves working as cleaners and dishwashers. According to data released by the country’s Centre for International Mobility (CIMO), technology graduates have a 2% better than average employment rate, whereas the employment rate of those who had studied business and administration is 5–6% poorer than average. Just over half of foreign graduates stay after graduating from a Finnish university to work.
Let’s face it – with the high cost of living, the limited opportunities to learn the “difficult” language, the small and competitive labour market, the residence permit bureaucracy, chances of getting employed in Finland are rather slim. Thus, it is very important for international students to know this and plan their careers wisely. For example, one of the popular coping strategies of staying in Finland is taking up further studies, including 2nd Master’s or PhD programs.
The growing pool of global talent available for Finnish employers has not been efficiently used yet. Workplace diversity in Finland is advanced when it comes to women and disabled people, but so far there have been few efforts to increase cultural diversity. In a growing number of cases Finnish employers find international graduates either overqualified due to their international experience or irrelevant if the company doesn’t have any international operations.
So, what can you do? First of all, ask questions, investigate the opportunities of building a career in your field in Finland. Be more active and brave in expanding your social and professional networks and contacting employers. Consider entrepreneurship as a way to employment. And try to stay as down to earth as possible. The situation on the Finnish labour market is rather tricky at the moment – don’t put your career off to decide about till the last day of your studies.