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Fear Driven Recruitment / One

As Monty Python once sang, Finland is “So close to Russia”. Located way up in northern Europe, the tip of Lapland is also over 1100 kms or 700 miles farther north than the south coast. Not only long, it is also the fifth largest nation in the European Union behind France, Spain, Sweden and Germany.

The country is fascinating and so are the Finns, of which there are not so many living there. Whilst Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Ireland and Slovakia reveal fewer residents, Finnland with over 5.5 million people is by far the least densely populated.

And yet, the country thrives. Having spent many a summer flying there for the weekends, I often came across roadworks during a drive the cottage. A week or three later, repairs were completed over long distances and contraflows gone. Both road surfaces and journeys were smooth again. I have never seen such efficiency in any other country.

Infrastructure is not their only area of excellence. Schooling, public transport, aviation, ecology and quality of life rank among the world’s finest.

However, when it comes to international recruitment, Finland struggles similarly to many other countries. Since experience shows this is a global phenomenon, is it the case that the language is a barrier?

Having tried to learn Finnish twice, I could agree. Whilst my mother tongue is English, my German is almost as proficient. Drop me off in Paris and I’ll communicate fairly well in French, even if using somewhat banal vocabulary. In Madrid I may require a glass of wine but I can hold a conversation in Spanish too. I can thus attest to Finnish being far from easy for me but innumerous foreigners excel in speaking with natives.

Yes, winters can be cold and dark. And long. But summers are equally warm. And, due the light, even lengthy. Is it perhaps the mosquitos? Not really. I have experienced more in Düsseldorf. The cost of living? No. Whilst prices may be inflated, salaries are proportionately high too.

Employment opportunities exist in their thousands. So much so, that even such a strong economy suffers. Unique measures have been introduced to help attract international staff.

Recruitment Events

The national Talent Boost Summit took place in November last year in Vantaa. It is, quote, “the most exciting business event of the fall! The event will offer concrete knowledge and practical tools regarding the recruitment of international talents and diversity topics.”

Just prior to that, another event known as the Work in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region was held in October in partnership with EURES, European Employment Services and ELA, the European Labour Authority.

The upcoming Contact Forum in Helsinki January 25 this year is “Finland’s oldest and largest recruitment and career event for university students” and held annually. With 135 companies already registered, it clearly reveals current circumstances.

Most Fascinating?

To quote the Helsinki authorities from last year: “The City of Helsinki wants to provide work for people – regardless of language skills. On 4 April 2023, Helsinki City Hall will be hosting a Work for You recruitment event, bringing together employers in Uusimaa and international jobseekers. The event is aimed at jobseekers who have moved from abroad as well as companies that do not require their employees to have good Finnish or Swedish language skills.”

This is a huge step, especially since governments across the globe require language proficiency to become a resident.

And, since all these events were local, is international recruitment considered questionable?

Or is it the case that employing their first foreigner who is not proficient in Finnish is for many companies a step too far? That recruitment is at times fear driven?

To be continued…

Sources:

Work for You: hel .fi/en/news/the-city-of-helsinki-wants-to-provide-work-for-people-regardless-of-language-skills; Contact Forum: contactforum .fi; Talent Boost Summit: workinfinland .com/en/tyonantajat/tapahtumat/talent-boost-summit-2023; Work in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region: europeanjobdays .eu/en/event/work-helsinki-uusimaa-region

#HR #humanresources #expat #expatriates #helsinki #internationaltalent #amazingcapitalsview