A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce reveals a growing interest among Finnish companies in recruiting or leasing international talent, yet there's a hesitancy to adopt English as the workplace language. While approximately 62% of companies have considered hiring international expertise, a significant 71% are not prepared to switch their workplace language to English.

The survey indicates a positive trend in hiring international professionals, with 59% of businesses that have hired foreign talent describing their experience as positive or very positive. However, a major obstacle remains: 58% of companies have not employed foreign talent due to the requirement of native-level Finnish language proficiency for job roles.

Johanna Sipola, the Deputy Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, encourages more companies to recruit international workers based on these predominantly positive experiences. She notes, “The easing of the talent shortage demands enhancing companies' abilities and readiness to undertake international recruitment. Training and information from various authorities and agencies are crucial.”

While 34% of businesses feel well or very well prepared for such recruitment or leasing, 29% describe their readiness as very poor or poor. The main challenges cited include language proficiency and complexities in the recruitment process. Notably, 33% of businesses lack the capability to offer language training to international professionals, and 28% feel uncomfortable using English in their work environment.

Sipola points out the need for more flexibility in language proficiency requirements at workplaces and calls for an increase in language training offerings, especially for international students. She emphasizes that workplace communities often provide the best environment for learning job-related language skills, which not only benefits the professional but also assists in their integration process.

Despite the high level of English proficiency in Finnish companies, with 79% reporting good or excellent English language skills among their staff, only 22% have switched or are ready to switch to English as their primary workplace language. This reluctance poses a significant barrier to international talent acquisition.

In terms of support, businesses express a need for financial assistance in hiring and language training. Approximately 23% require education or guidance on international recruitment. Employment services, vocational institutions, and staffing agencies are seen as key players in providing support for the recruitment of international professionals.

The survey's findings highlight a critical juncture for Finnish companies in balancing the need for international talent with language barriers and workplace culture. There’s a clear call for strategic measures to overcome these challenges to fully leverage the potential of a globally diverse workforce.