Finding a Job in Finland - version 2

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Post by Caroline » Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:14 pm

Excellent project, Phil :thumbsup:

The comments and suggestions which come to mind:

1. The following point should be researched a bit. It's probably not accurate to say that almost everyone has a master's degree or higher, it only seems that way because most of those who do live in the Helsinki region. I think it's safe to say that almost everyone in the nation has a polytechnic degree, or a training certificate from some kind of trade school.
For those without a college education or for those with only a bachelor’s degree, you may be disappointed to find that just about everyone (so it seems) has a master’s degree and it’s common to find people who have multiple degrees.

So how can this be? Well, a degree is totally free of costs here. In fact, it’s beyond free, you basically get paid, fed, and housed to go to school.
The education is free, but the cost of living is not. Student allowances are not always enough to cover the cost, so a growing number have loans, or they work beyond what is required for their degree, or they get support from their parents.

2. I agree it would be very interesting to talk further about the other kinds of work that expats do here besides IT and engineering. It starts to seem like there is no point for living here for those who aren't either working in that field, following their spouse who is working in that field on an overseas assignment, or married to a Finn, and even the third case doesn't even seem like a good enough reason sometimes.

3. I like the subtopic of special issues concerning foreign women as job-seekers. Even in Finland it seems harder for both Finnish and foreign women to land adequate jobs, and Finnish women are generally more higher educated than Finnish men, so that is a sign that something is not right.

Actually, here in Oulu our women’s club had our first meeting for a job seekers’/networking support group a couple of weeks ago. We had both employed and unemployed women attend, exchanged advice and tips about how society works here in Oulu as well as in Finland in general. Some had read the book What Color is your Parachute, and found that some of the points apply to job searches in Finland as well. If no one has initiated a similar group in HKI, Turku, Tampere, or wherever yet, I strongly recommend it.

4. Emphasize the networking. I agree with those who say that it can be a frustratingly slow process here, but it is possibly even more important than language or education.

Keep up this very worthwhile project!

Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!


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Post by tarmo » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:26 pm

Hank W. wrote:few points more:

In Finland you know everyone else's salary. Not only are tax records public, but there are union agreements that are binding, even you or the employer don't belong to the unions. If you are looking for a job, and the salary is informed as "TES", you have to dig up the "collective labour agreement" of that profession, and see the minimum wages, hours, salaries, benefits etc. You can try to make a better deal, but you cannot make a worse than the minimum of that very TES in question.
That is not true. I am a finn, working on engineering jobs on 17 yrs, and have never known my co-worker's salaries, unless they have revealed them. They are negotiable.

In case one works on public sector or worker's level, then wages are paid according those TES's

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Post by Hank W. » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:35 pm

tarmo wrote:That is not true. I am a finn, working on engineering jobs on 17 yrs, and have never known my co-worker's salaries, unless they have revealed them. They are negotiable.
Yes, but the ballpark is generally there between the TES and what you get. Or do you say there are 2 engineers one paid 3000 and the other 6000 a month doing the same job? Fluctuation would be 2800-3200 maybe and the TES say around 2678,50. So TES you cannot go below with. Depends though on the company a lot. Big companies generally pay the worst.

And you _could_ have found everyone elses salaries by a visit to the tax office, but that is a bit inquisitive.
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.

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Post by Phil » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:30 pm

Caroline wrote: 1. The following point should be researched a bit. It's probably not accurate to say that almost everyone has a master's degree or higher, it only seems that way because most of those who do live in the Helsinki region. I think it's safe to say that almost everyone in the nation has a polytechnic degree, or a training certificate from some kind of trade school.
Caroline, glad to hear you like the project! :) You're right about the point above. I should have been more clear, I know that most people don't have a fancy degree, that's what I said "so it seems". Most of us are educated young people moving to Finland because of an educated Finnish partner. And educated people usually have educated friends & family. So, when you first arrive in Finland and meet all your spouse's educated family & friends, you might assume that EVERYONE is very educated in Finland - and that's not true. Especially if you live in a large city like Helsinki or Oulu, you'll find way more educated people than if you lived in a town like Nowheremaki.

All your points are great and I'll definitely implement them in my next draft! :D

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Post by dusty_bin » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:30 pm

I don't know if this is of interest:

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Post by sayx » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:45 am

About your CV what I have done was translated it myself and had it proofed by a Finn. I then send the CV to a prospective employer in English on page 1 and Finnish on page 2, this is showing that you are tiring to learn Finnish.

I always get asked at interviews why are you in Finland and how long are you going to stay. Employers like you said Phil are looking for longer-term employees. The best answer to this I have found and goes over very well is I have a Finnish wife/girlfriend and we have two children here and we wish them to grow up in Finland, by the time they are old enough to be on there own and my wife/girlfriend and I have the option to move to Canada, I don’t see much of a life left for me back there, since I put my roots into Finland.

Wish this article was done about two years ago, had to learn it all on my own GREAT JOB!!!
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Post by jwesthues » Mon Jul 26, 2004 5:22 pm

Overall, a great job. Very useful information for newcomers and oldtimers alike.

Even though you asked us to ignore spelling and grammar, there is one thing that bugged me and I can't seem to let it go (especially since Mr. X also published this on Finland Journal). DECENT is good or acceptable, as in a "decent job". DESCENT is a way downward or the act of moving from a higher order to a lower one. Maybe in the case of foreigners finding work in Finland, descent actually is the apprpriate word.

Sorry for my nitpickiness.

- Jukka


Re: Finding a Job in Finland - v0.1

Post by hemuli » Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:56 am

Phil wrote:The following is about 2.5 years of my experience in finding a job in Finland.

so please don't focus on any spelling/grammar mistakes.

This article will focus on foreigners finding a job in Finland.

The author is a 24-year old American IT professional working for a large IT/telecommunications company in Finland. He’s been in Finland for nearly two years

In the United States for example, “

Fortunately, Finns realize that their language is obscure (on a global sense) and difficult to learn – if they want to hire foreigners, they’re going to be forced to hire non-Finnish speakers.

Unlike the United States,....
hi phil,

this is really a good start for such an article. Please, you may wish to take note of the following:

1. You are from the United States, so, it's easier to read if you mention for instance: EU-citizens don't need to apply for a visa and if you don't generalize all foreigners (you are not speaking for the Russian ones, isn't it?)

2. Your story is for the young urban professionals in the IT-sector. There are foreigners working in consulting, construction, industry and research. It's different for each of these.

3. Finns realize that their language is difficult, but obscure ???. It is very essential to watch the spelling, both in English and Finnish.

4. Please, go on with this. It's good to read your story.

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Post by bretti_kivi » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:28 pm

hi all,

finnish is obscure. but i'm not convinced on the amount of time to learn it... i'm on a course at the moment and it's going quite quickly. he says...:)

aside from that, i have to agree with most of it and the points hemuli made about europeans having it easier - maybe a mention of the E303?

keep up the good work phil!

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Post by eric71 » Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:53 pm

I wanted to add my 2 cents to this thread. Answering a PM for another poster made me think about what has been successful and what has not in my job search. In my case it is trying to get a job in Finland while still living in California, but it should apply for those already in Finland.

Firstly, networking has proven very important. Talk to whom ever you can in your field in Finland. Get your name out there and make friends. In any job market the majority of jobs are not posted on websites or in newspapers. I've gotten the best job leads from word of mouth, and you don't get that unless you make some connections. If the company you work for in your home country has ever done business with a Finnish company, get a contact there and get to know them. They can give you suggestions that and google searches will never give you. If you've applied to a company that is not hiring, or not interested in you, talk to them anyway, make a good impression. One company that I'd love to work for got my CV from another company down the street that knew they were looking for someone.

Secondly, a Finn met through networking (see above) had spoken to his management friends in Finland about what barriers they saw to hiring foreigners, and gave me suggestions on how to sell myself to ease their fears. The main fear was that if they hired a foreigner, I could change my mind and go home. Finnish companies look at hiring as a long term investment in an individual and want to see long term pay off. You have to convince a company that you are in Finland for the long haul - you are serious about learning the language, you have a spouse or significant other who is Finnish, basically why you love Finland and have decided to make it your home. I've had Finns I hardly know bend over backwards to help me because they respected the fact that an American would be willing to move to Finland for family and the love of Finnish culture, while giving up the salary available to them in the US.

And the third thing that I think can bring advantage in a job search is emphasizing a combination of skills that is hard to find in Finland. This may only be applicable to my field (biotech), but if you've studied molecular biology or meicine or any related field in Finland you've probably got at least a masters degree. I've got two bachelors degrees and a masters degree, so besides showing I know science pretty well, I really can't use my education alone to convince a Finnish company to hire me over the Finns applying for the same position. What I'm finding is that Finns who are scientists work as scientists, and Finns who are trained for business don't have the technical background to work in biotech. I would guess this probably goes for engineering and IT too. Since I graduated I've worked in the marketing department of a biotech company which gives me business experience, especially in international markets, that can be hard to find in a Finnish scientist. There are jobs out there that need people with both backgrounds. If you've got a technical background, but have done some sales or management or communications related jobs, use it to your advantage.

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Post by Phil » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:39 pm

What about including references, is that customary in Finland? Will your prospective employer contact them references? Will your prospective employer contact your former bosses?

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Post by deeplymauritius » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 pm

I'm a bit drunk right now, but I wanted to say thanks etc. to Phil for writing such a great guide. it is things like this and so forth that have really made an impact on my job hunt here in Finland. suffice to say that after 6 months of being here in jyväskylä -and this is not a boast, but a thank you for all the imput- I went to my first meeting as a new english teacher at the Uni Kielikeskus (and ended up in the pub, of course)

I wouldn't have considered myself a networking person before I came to Finland, but having read a lot of the posts here and from nice answers to my tentative questions, I forced myself to go knock on doors and call and email people to the point where I had gotten a bit of a repuation around the uni and people started making serious job offers.

It's all really gradual and I am by no means at the end of the tunnel, but after almost 6 mths of trying I am happy with the progress (I feared a lot worse, it has to be said).

so, yeah, thanks to everyone who offers us newer types a helping hand and some sound advice - it is possible to get work in this country after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need bed now - work calls tomorrow :shock:
The world was once so nice and shiny then Sh*t happened

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Post by eric71 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:00 pm

These job threads were very useful to me and this forum in general has been a wonderful resource for me. I'd just like to add some advice concerning job searches for foreigners still living ouside of FInland. There is the caveat that this probably only applies to people at a management or experienced level in their field, where speaking Finnish might not be as important and it is also just my experience, and I may be lucky.

I was always a big proponent of finding a job before coming to FInland. I didn't want the uncertainty of moving from the States without a job and living off the state for god knows how long. I applied for every position and sent an email and CV to every company in my field. I networked to the best of my ability. I did this for almost a year. One company even flew me over for an interview (and I snuck a few more in while in FInland). All of this led to nothing. I heard "come see us when you are in Finland" at least 50 times. Anyway, my wife and I finally got frustrated with being in the process of moving to Finland, but never actually doing it. We moved here in December and got all signed up with Työvoimatoimisto and Kela. I started following up with the "see us when you are in FInland" people in January. By the end of January I found a position that I'm happy with. So basically we're looking at nearly a year of frustration vs. a month of uncertainty living off of FInland's generosity.

So any advice I've given here about having a job BEFORE you move should be thrown to the wayside. Very few companies are going to take the risk and hire you from abroad to move to Finland no matter how qualified you are. If you save some money before you come and get whatever networking you can done before moving, getting by for a bit without a job can be far less stressful than you think, especially if you have a support network such as your significant other's family in FInland. I didn't want the stress and uncertainty of being unemployed in a new country - but I'd gladly take it now compare to all the ups and downs of searching for work from abroad. If I'd known then what I know know, I would have moved here a year ago.

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Thanks Phil

Post by mayumispa » Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:26 am

very well written and informative, no joke...

thanks, this will surely helps as i make preparation to move there, got to...(girl) i need to follow there :D

anyway, this is the kind of infor that you wont find in lonely planet or can ask just about anybody as they way of asking seems to be the key.

i agree that those wanting to move there shouldnt be comparing stuff from home. one thing, this is somebodys' home, we play by there rules...they make most of the rules.

what happend to you was the same thing that i was doing here milan,italy.

thanks be reading further.
more power.hope we could chat
always sincere

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Post by snowqueen » Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:21 pm

Yeah...I have definately found out how hard it is to find a job here. The sadest part beeing that ICAN speak Finnish quite well.. Also as you said they take forever to contact you after the interview. Well, I guess I really don't have jack to complain about yet, since I 've only been looking for a gig for about 4 1/2 months. Patience is a vertue,right.