As many as 79 per cent of all people employed work or have worked with a person with a foreign background. This was indicated in a survey conducted by Aula Research for the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) that identified employees’ attitudes towards multicultural working life and colleagues with foreign backgrounds.
“The survey showed that 80 per cent of all respondents consider working with a colleague with a foreign background a positive experience, while only six per cent consider it negative.
These are surprising results, as multicultural working life is often only talked about in public while highlighting conflicts,” says Taina Vallander, director at STTK.
Then again, people are more reserved and frightened when it comes to strengthening multiculturalism in their workplace and Finland in general. Vallander says that negative attitudes toward increasing multiculturalism in working communities are often explained by the lack of a common language, as this is considered to directly affect working.
Men under 35 years of age have the most experience in working with colleagues with foreign backgrounds (89%). They were also more willing than the other groups of respondents to increase multiculturalism in their working communities (56%). The most positive experiences with colleagues with foreign backgrounds were in the regions of Northern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia and North Savonia.
Based on the survey results, people with foreign backgrounds – people born outside Finland and who do not speak Finnish or Swedish as their native language – mostly work in industry, education, hospitality, social services and healthcare.
Half of all respondents were ready to increase labour migration
STTK also asked about the respondents’ attitudes towards labour migration. The Finnish Government has set the goal to increase it by 50,000 people by 2030. STTK is in favour of this goal. “Half of all respondents thought that labour migration should be increased. People under 35 years of age have more positive attitudes than other age groups.”
Of all respondents, 85 per cent consider access to working life the best way to integrate immigrants.