We recognise the problems faced by jobseekers with an international background when looking for a job. However, support is available.
On 15 November, Helsingin Sanomat wrote about a person with an African background who has a Master’s degree in Environmental Science but who has unsuccessfully applied for hundreds of jobs in Finland. The employment challenges facing experts with an international background are familiar to Loimu’s Career Services.
“A significant part of the master’s degrees in the fields represented by Loimu are in English, which makes it easier to attract international students to Finland. However, finding employment is not as easy for them compared to native Finns, as employers still strongly prefer Finnish language skills,” says Career Services Manager Suvi Liikkanen. “This often results in taking longer to find a job, the person becoming frustrated with the situation and moving away from the country.”
For a long time, it has been evident that, for example, of the approximately 250 scientists graduating annually with an international background, more than a quarter leave Finland and move abroad within a year. Within a year, half of the new graduates are able to enter working life, but one in three end up working in tasks that do not correspond to their level of education. The share of unemployed varies between 7 and 8 per cent. Therefore, their employment is not on the same level as that of Finnish- or Swedish-speaking graduates of similar degree programmes.
For an individual jobseeker, the period of unemployment can be mentally very difficult.
“In many cases, a period of unemployment challenges one’s experience of being qualified and competent, even their entire professional identity,” explains Loimu’s Career Coach Petra Bedda. “In the case of international experts, a feeling often arises as to whether they are even welcome to stay in Finland. However, in career and job search coaching, we are also able to deal with emotions related to job search, which can make people feel better, even if one cannot yet find employment.
In addition to personal coaching, we also support our members with webinars and video training materials that can be viewed at any time. For example, Loimu will organise an online training workshop on 22 November, the title of which is “Job search through the eyes of a foreigner”. During the training, job search and networking tips applicable to Finland are discussed with the help of a coach who also has an international background. Read more about the webinar here: https://tapahtumat.loimu.fi/event/qJY7p