Did you know that in Finland approximately 70% of all jobs are not publicly advertised? Or that recruiters in Finland value the most the candidate’s motivation, personality and values/cultural fit?
As a responsible relocation partner, we aim to provide more support for our customers and their families to feel welcomed and be able to settle in faster. Many of the families we relocated have settled well, however we noted that many spouses and partners struggle to find employment. We know that one certain way for retaining foreign talent is to support families in their integration.
Why do we do this?
The Statistics Finland’s survey on work and well-being among persons of foreign origin (UTH) concluded that over half (54%) of Finland’s population with foreign background moved to the country for family reasons. The same survey concluded that work had been the primary reason for moving to Finland for nearly one fifth. Men had moved more commonly because of work or studying than women, while for women family reasons were more often the grounds for relocating.
In addition, the most recent data on the employment situation of residents with foreign background shows that the unemployment rate in Helsinki was 18.6% and 9.2% among the population as a whole. The foreign-mother-tongue unemployed are estimated to a quarter of all unemployed people in Helsinki. The unemployment rate among residents with a foreign mother tongue remains fairly constant regardless of their education.
We decided to do something about this
On Tuesday 3rd of December, we hosted the first Spouse career coaching event that was aimed for spouses of international talents. This and the futures events are free of charge and aim to share insights on the local career market, recruitment process, working culture, practical tips on how to look for a job, write a successful CV, etc.
The event was hosted at Barona’s main office at our so-called Living room area – a cozy lounge area, where we usually hold internal low-profile events as well as other similar After-work seminars. We invited the spouses of clients we have relocated during the past year as well as asked a few employers of international companies to spread the word internally. We ended up with a small group of very international and very active participants. They came very motivated to learn new things and actively asked questions, which made the atmosphere even more friendly and open.
Marina, Säde and Tatiana from Barona Relocation welcomed the guests. Our team is quite diverse itself, so we also took the opportunity to mingle and share own stories and struggles with the same issues.
Jump start your career in Finland
Dan Puha, Sales Director at Barona HR Solutions, continued to give a short career coaching. He shared some statistics from Occupational Barometer regarding the employment market in Finland and the occupations that are scarce or oversupplied with applications. This gives an idea whether your skill set is in demand or not. After giving a quick overview of the job market, Dan moved on to the practical part of how to find a job in Finland.
He shared an interesting “known fact” that in Finland approximately 70% of all jobs are not publicly advertised. They are hidden, which means, if you are looking for a job only online from different job portals, you probably might not find all the jobs that you are looking for. Dan mentioned several reasons behind this. One of the reasons could be simply that the organizations in Finland get all the time open applications through different channels and often organizations prefer to utilize first these applications, before starting the public recruitment process, which often needs time, money and resources.
Finding a job is straightforward:
“First thing you need to know is yourself, your skills, your personality. Every job seeking process is going to involve some sort of information who you are and what you know. This sounds pretty simple, but actually this is the most important and hardest part of finding a job! And to put it on a paper, so others would know and understand it as well. This is something you should look into; to find a best way to present your skill-set, what you know and what you want to do.
The second thing is finding your goal. If you are looking only for “something”, that is going to show in your application. You actually want to tailor-make the application you are making, and you don’t want to make a general job application and change only the company name. When I worked as a recruiter, I could tell that a mile away, if someone has just sent you a generalized application”
Writing a winning CV/motivation letter/LinkedIn-profile as well as for targeting the right positions and companies is essential!
It may sound like a stereotypical notion, but having those issues straight are truly instrumental for being able to show motivation. And speaking of motivation, a study made by Duunitori indicated that
- Values/Cultural fit
- Character fit to the job description
- Work experience
are what recruiters in Finland value and pay attention to the most.
Dan also gave several tips on how a candidate can reflect their motivation and leave an impression with a recruiter.
“Be prepared with a short pitch of your strengths and motivation. If you manage to catch the right person on the phone, you wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity to impress them.”
Dan encouraged our guests to network in general but also to utilize the power of social media and especially LinkedIn. This was an advice that our guests took very seriously and connected with each other as well as with us and our Barona colleagues.
Finnish working culture – how to fit in
Our next speaker was Päivi Mäenpää, Senior HR Consultant at Barona’s Cross-Border Recruitment team. Päivi covered the very important topic of Finnish working culture. Understanding the manifestations of a culture in general as well as the manifestations of the local culture enables newcomers to understand locals much better. For job applicants this can be essential in finding ways to show their strengths and how they can complement and enrich the local work ecosystems.
Päivi gave a short theoretic overview of the symbols, heroes, rituals and values that represent the manifestations of a culture. We looked at Hofstede’s model of national culture. Then we looked at some differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures and compared the local culture to the ones where our guests come from.
To give an example, employees in individualistic societies, such as the Finnish one, are emotionally quite independent on their workplace. Work is dominated by autonomy, personal responsibility and challenges. Employees are best motivated by individual rewards and bonuses.
Päivi shared six ground rules on Finnish working culture.
“Show your interest and your motivation to understand. How things are done here? Why do we do it like this and not like that? Is this a Finnish practice or especially this organization’s way of doing things?”
Päivi advised also to spend some time on understanding yourself. Understanding one’s heritage and culture helps to spot possible differences and misunderstandings with other cultures. Self-motivation, openness to new ideas and pro-activeness in asking questions are valued in Finnish working environment. Finns are quite sharp with timing, very honest to say no, if needed, and are strict to follow the rules.
“Compared to worldwide, Finnish working culture is very informal and free. Hierarchy is very flat and you can hardly guess who is the boss. It is, however, very important to be polite.”
We concluded the event with an open discussion on some challenges our participants have encountered. It was nice to see everyone sharing own experience and advice.
Overall, this was a very successful pilot event and we are definitely going to continue hosting similar ones during the months to come. Together with our colleagues from Barona, we look forward to continuing provide insights and tips on job search as well as local working culture.
Feedback and ideas are more than welcome!