Why not getting a job in Finland?
Finland is a great place to study, work, live and raise a family in, thus staying in Finland after graduation is a good option.
Due to our small population, Finland is heading towards a labor shortage that Finland’s own younger generation won’t be able to fulfill. In other words, there is a clear need to recruit people from abroad in the coming years, especially in technology, service and healthcare sectors.
The benefits of working in Finland are many. Finland can offer good, high-quality working conditions, employees have a secure status, children and youth enjoy good educational opportunities, public services run smoothly and the country has many successful, internationally well-known companies.
Finland has long been a world-leader in technology, ICT, paper and pulp industries, and the country can boast with globally known companies such as UPM-Kymmene, Stora Enso, Kone, Metso, Neste Oil, Nokia and Wärtsilä.
While the above mentioned industries are still going strong, Finland has in recent years also become the start-up hub of Europe where various companies have started their journey. SLUSH Helsinki is after all, one of the biggest start-up events in Europe!
In addition, to the well-known success stories of the gaming companies Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of Clans), there are an amazing number of promising and rapidly growing start-ups and young growth companies in cleantech, ICT, life sciences and nano technology in Finland. Hence, a lot of opportunities for newly graduated international students.
To support the establishment of new start-ups in Finland, the Finnish government has planned to launch a new start-up visa for entrepreneurs.
One of the many reason behind the success of companies in Finland, is that Finland has the best university-industry research collaboration in the world, according to the Global Innovation Index 2016.
Finland leading in ICT and Digitalization
Finland has a long history of Information Technology and the global success of Nokia spurred the development of Finland as the hub for software and electronics development.
Therefore it is no surprise that companies such as GE Healthcare, Google, Huawei, Rolls-Royce and Zalando has chosen Finland as their hub for digitalizing their business. Finland is also home to world-leading mobile gaming companies, such as Rovio, Supercell and Fingersoft. In fact, there are more than 300 game developers in Finland. The popular fitness trackers of our time, were also first developed in Finland by industry trailblazers such as Suunto and Polar.
Finland is also a world cluster of machinery companies, such as Kone, Metso, Valmet and Wärtsilä. A combination of excellent data engineering, business intelligence and a high concentration of IT professionals has enabled Finland to become a world leader in the industrial internet. For the same reasons, Finland has also been successful in attracting major investments in data centers from companies such as Google, Equinix and Yandex.
Health and wellbeing
Not only does Finland have the best health care system in the world, but Finland is also the premier location for health R&D due to the longstanding tradition of digitalizing health data, excellent healthcare and large biobanks. For these reasons several global pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Merck and Roche have large R&D centers in Finland.
Finnish Medical and Health Technology is also globally well-known, and companies such as GE Healthcare, Thermo Fischer, Danaher and Bayer have therefore established R&D centers in Finland. Finland is one of seven countries in the world that exports more health technology than it imports.
In addition to these large multinational companies, Finland can also boast with a rapidly growing ecosystem of health start-ups. Many of these companies work in areas of medical devices, health ICT, medical data analytics and artificial intelligence.
Clean technology and Bioeconomy
Energy-intensive industries, the cold climate and the lack of domestic fossil fuel resources have turned Finnish companies into global leaders in clean technologies and sustainability. Today there are more than 4000 cleantech companies registered in the country.
Finland is quickly also becoming the superpower of the bioeconomy revolution, by attracting new foreign investments into the bioeconomic growth. The Japanese firm Itochu has for example invested in a new bioproduct mill by Metso Group, and in 2016, the Chinese company Sunshine Kaidi and China CAMC Engineering announced their intentions to invest in bioeconomy projects in Finland, with a total worth of over EUR 1 billion.
Another area in which Finland has long been a frontrunner is maritime technology and ship building. The majority of the largest luxury cruise ships in the world are built or designed in Finland. 60% of all the ice breakers in the world are built and 80% are designed in Finland. The first LNG-powered ice breaker in the world was built in Finland.
Finland also has the largest ship building sub- contractor network in the world with over 1,000 suppliers and is on a steady course to become a global leader in the development of next-generation shipping solutions. Finland is a great environment for both testing and developing autonomous shipping technologies due to the expertise it has in optical sensors, wireless communications, software development, the industrial internet and artificial intelligence. This is why Rolls Royce opened an autonomous ship R&D center in Finland in 2018.
Future skill Shortages in Finland
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor, Finland is heading towards a severe labor shortage and there is a clear need to recruit skilled people from abroad in the coming years. If the employment rate remains at the current level, there will be a labor shortage of 150,000 people in 2020. In other words, the current workforce is not big enough to replace the ones leaving, the ministry says.
According to future predictions of vacant jobs in Finland, sectors that face severe skill shortages are among others:
- IT, ICT and gaming
- Software engineering, computer science, AI, Robotics, Big data, cloud computing
- Chemical industry (Chemicals account for Finland’s second largest industry sector)
- Chemical engineers
- Biorefinery, biochemistry, chemical engineers, environmental engineers etc.
- Health sector
- Medical practitioners, health ICT, medical data analytics, AI
- Construction engineers, electrical engineers, and other engineers.
- Hospitality Management, Business Development
For students interested in working in Finland after studies, there is big potential within the field of IT, ICT, AI, VR, Big Data, and gaming. According to The Finnish Information Processing Association, Finland will have around 10 000 vacant positions for skilled programmers in 2020. In total, there will be roughly 200 000 open job positions within the above-mentioned areas in Europe in the coming years. Thus, students who are interested in IT, ICT and digitalization, industrial internet, artificial intelligence, big data and robotics will have good opportunities to find a job in Finland afterwards. However, as listed above, almost all sectors in Finland will face a shortage of skilled labors as a large part of the population is retiring in coming years.
Across the EU, the top five skill shortage occupations are ICT professionals; medical doctors; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals; nurses, midwives and teachers.
Finding a job
Finding a job can be challenging when you are new to a country, especially if you do not speak Finnish or Swedish. Therefore, we strongly encourage full-degree students to learn the local language.
Most universities in Finland offer Career Services. This should be the first stop for any student and graduate looking for a job. Although the Career Service is not a job recruitment agency, you can contact them for advice on possible local employment opportunities, and general tips on job hunting in Finland.
Many jobs might not be announced publicly; instead, vacancies may be filled through unofficial channels, such as social media and social networks. Personal initiative is therefore also extremely important.
Below we have listed some recruitment websites and agencies:
CV and Job Application
The most important documents used for job search in Finland are the CV and the cover letter. When applying for a job, remember to always try to make the cover letter and CV reflect the open vacancy. In other words, highlight strengths you believe are important for that specific position. Most often, all requirements do not have to be fulfilled to be considered for a position, but if something is missing, think about how you can bring out your willingness to develop within the job.
When applying for jobs in Finland, the CV should entail the following:
- Basic information about applicant
- A short profile – one short paragraph about how your skills are reflected in the vacant position
- Previous work experience
- Language skills
If you work in Finland, you have to pay taxes on your income. The taxation policy depends on how long you stay in Finland, and on the type of your employment. International tax agreements sometimes allow tax deductions for students. More information can be found on the Finnish Tax Administration’s website.
If you are employed and residing in Finland for more than six months, you must obtain a tax card from the tax office. The original tax card shall be presented to the employer so that tax can be withheld. When applying for a tax card you need to give an estimate of how much you will earn during the calendar year (January to December), so that the tax office can assign you a tax percentage. The higher your predicted income, the higher the tax percentage you will pay. You will also need the Finnish personal number that can be obtained from the local register offices.
The Finnish taxation year follows the calendar year. The Tax Administration distributes the pre-completed tax return each year in March or April. Tax refunds are due at the beginning of December each year.