Finland Is Looking for Foreign Expert Workers

The Finnish government wants to attract highly educated families to migrate to Finland and have  just announced a whole series of measures to attract foreigners with the right skills.

Here is a link if you are interested to explore the possibilities with top companies in a really nice country – and you can always contact me here at FinnishNews if you have more specific questions!

I have included here a note on my own history that started in the late 1960s and continues to this day!

The rational for this clear – Finland’s population is ageing fast, and the birth rate is extremely low at 1.4 down from 1.8 at the start of the financial crisis. This means that more foreigner workers are needed to replace those who are retiring from the labour market. Workers are needed to keep the flow of goods and services operating and tax revenues must remain sufficiently high to support the larger number of pensioners.

Finland is many ways is a very attractive place to work because society is well organized and democracy flourishes. People are well educated and have an open and without being overly racist or xenophobic. The basic services are efficient and income inequality is low. The environment is clean, and the streets and towns are safe. Crime rates are low.

The negatives are what you would expect in most of the Nordic countries – we have a cold climate, winters are long and we have languages which are not useful outside our home countries. However, most people speak English and a few other languages, so the question of languages is not such a big thing. More and more companies have foreigners working for them since we are very dependent on exports like the rest of the Nordics.

Your Editor-in-Chief came to Finland in 1967 as an 18-year-old student to write Fortran programs on an Elliot computer at the Nuclear Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. I came here to finance my university studies that lasted for 4,5 years in the UK. My summer job supplemented my scholarships.

It was a wonderful summer job where I could use my new programming skills with a team of people who were at the forefront of technology. I had learnt Fortran programing the previous 2 years for my A-levels at my school in London. The school happened to be located next to one of the first factories in the UK that produced computers and Nokia had sold the same computer to Helsinki University.

That summer I met with dozens of young folk my age who spoke perfect English and at least two other languages, as well as some of the smartest people in the University doing research work in many different fields. I also spent time in the eastern part of Finland near a beautiful spot called Koli, a wonderful area of forests, swamp lands, high hills and lakes. There I learnt about fishing, sauna, collecting wild mushrooms and berries in the never-ending forests, as well as visiting a large soap stone factory next to the big open mine there.

I also met with a local farmer and forest owner whose wife was the region’s MP in the Finnish Parliament. She showed me how to make and bake rye bread and many other Finnish delicacies, while her husband introduced me to the music of Finnish composers on his record player. That summer I also harvested hay. I used a handmade two-pronged fork to pile the freshly cut hay on thick wooden stakes to dry in the hot sun. At the end of the day, we enjoyed a smoke sauna and cool berry juice made from the berries we had picked the day before.

That was the start of my life in Finland, one summer job led to another and then I found a great job with a Finnish bank in 1972, after working for a year in a bank in London just when the international capital markets were taking off.

I have been a resident in Finland for many decades and now I have two sons and five grandchildren. The schools and universities for all seven have been and remain excellent. All education here is of the highest quality with a balanced and broad syllabus. Teachers are demanding and highly professional. Likewise, universities are also basically free for all Finns, as are vocational colleges. This country understands the value of education. This is an open economy that must export to survive in this global world.

Helsinki and other cities are small compared to the main European cities. Even though they are small, cultural and social activities are plentiful and varied.

It is true that most foreigners feel like outsiders during the first year because this has been an unusually closed society. Unusual because it is clean and honest, and closed because it has a small population at the very edge of Europe and has a language that only they understand!

For well-educated immigrants who are raising a family, I can think of no better place to move to. Homes are affordable and comfortable, schools and cities are safe, towns and the countryside are clean and fun to explore. Job opportunities exist for highly skilled people and there is a strong demand for good workers.

The biggest drawback is the cold, wet and dark winter, but it is easy to enjoy snow and ice with skiing and skating, then when summer comes you quickly forget what winter was like. Summers here are superb!

Learning the Finnish or Swedish language is not hard – you do not have to be perfect in writing or speaking and a little effort is well rewarded.

I have worked in senior positions for two banks here and been president of the Finnish municipal bank. I have also worked as a senior banker for major British, French, and Swedish banks in London, Singapore, Paris, New York and Stockholm. My dual nationality and broad geographical experience have been major assets that have been well recognized here. Not all jobs have been easy – there is always friction when you move around different cultures and societies – but Finland is without doubt one of the most open and well-organized countries that I have experienced.

Here is the link to the government’s job site:

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