A doctor working in the infection department of Kainuu central hospital in Kajaani.

Working life

As many as 75% of highly educated international professionals living in Finland have experienced discrimination in their job search, and 61% have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

"The figures are extremely worrying, and they show that Finnish working life is not yet very far in supporting diversity."

says Mika Sallinen, Country Manager of Universum Finland, an organization that focuses on researching and developing the employer image. A joint study carried out by Universum and the City of Espoo also revealed that the biggest challenges in job searching are related to employers' requirements for native-level Finnish language skills.

“The survey was answered by almost 500 highly educated international experts living in Finland. Most of them felt that employers should critically evaluate their Finnish language proficiency requirements if they want to be attractive in the eyes of international experts,” says Sallinen. The survey was conducted between December 2021 and January 2022, and also examined the respondents' working life preferences and opinions about Finnish employers.

The study showed that international experts value work-leisure balance, professional training and development, and ethical standards as employer characteristics more than the Finns. Naturally, they also find it attractive if the employer invests in diversity and inclusion.

Thus, the respondents raised the issues related to required proficiency in the Finnish language as the biggest challenge in the job search phase and suggested that employers review them critically. There were also language difficulties with networking due to the lack of networking tools and events for international professionals. The study also revealed that there is room for improvement in the recruitment processes of Finnish companies. As many as 45% of respondents had submitted a job application without receiving any response.

“This research confirms what we have heard many times while working with international professionals. Presenting the information in clear numerical research results makes the problems visible to companies as well”, says Senior Planning Officer Melissa Arni-Hardén from the City of Espoo. "We are actively organizing opportunities for these professionals and employers to meet each other at our various recruitment events and break down the walls one encounter and successful recruitment at a time."

The survey also asked about employers who, according to the respondents, have had an equal and diverse recruitment process or work atmosphere. VTT, Nokia, Relex Systems, Finnair, Wolt, Kone, City of Espoo, F-Secure, Rovio, Nordea, Supercell and Supermetrics received the most mentions in this section.

The results of the survey were published today at Espoo Talent Hub.

* Between December 2021 and January 2022, a total of 466 highly educated international experts responded to the survey, sharing their views on Finnish employers and working life.