A recent study by the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce reveals that a majority of companies in the Helsinki region have had positive experiences in hiring international talents. However, the preparedness of these companies to recruit such talent varies significantly.
According to the Chamber's fall recruitment and skill survey, 42% of companies operating in the Helsinki area had hired or leased international experts in the last five years.
On the other hand, 28% had not considered recruiting or renting international talent.
Olli Oja, the Project Manager at the Forecasting Chamber, remarked, "It's particularly heartening to see that a clear majority of the respondent companies are at least open to considering the recruitment of international talents."
Out of those who had engaged international talent, 57% reported their experience as positive or extremely positive. Johanna Larsson, the Project Manager at the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce, noted, "This feedback aligns with our past surveys and encourages businesses to begin hiring international talents as the satisfaction levels are quite high. Only 13% had negative experiences."
Interestingly, a significant chunk of these international recruits come from outside the European Union. 42% were hired from outside Europe, while 27% came from other EU countries. Only 16% of the companies recruited international talents already residing in Finland.
Oja further commented on the challenges: "Talent is needed in various roles and industries in the Helsinki area. However, a quarter of the respondents felt their companies were ill-prepared or poorly equipped to hire international talent. Language barriers, especially Finnish or Swedish proficiency, remain the most significant hurdle."
Despite the majority of companies rating their English proficiency as good (54%) or excellent (31%), only 30% are willing or have switched to English as a partial or complete working language. 24% felt that using English doesn't feel natural in the workplace.
Another area of concern is the underutilization of international students. The survey, for the first time, looked into the recruitment of international students for internships or summer jobs. Only 21% had hired such students before, and 26% planned to in the future. However, Larsson highlighted, "It's evident we in Finland haven't effectively integrated international students into our workforce. The fact that 80% of responding companies haven't tapped into this available talent pool is alarming."
Larsson concludes with a call to action, stressing the importance of not letting this pool of skilled potential go to waste. "We need an open-minded approach and collective will to integrate international talents into the Finnish workforce."
In this survey, 265 companies operating in the Helsinki region responded, aiming to understand their talent and recruitment needs. The Helsinki Chamber of Commerce had last conducted a similar inquiry in March 2023.