A handshake at the end of a candidate’s job interview in a Finnish company  

Photo by Lukas: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-wears-multicolored-blazer-928199/

Before you ask “can I get a job in Finland?” you should decide which field you want to search for a job in. From engineering and technology to sales and marketing, administration, finance, HR, and manufacturing and construction to tourism and hospitality, healthcare, and academics, you will have a wide range to choose from. Once you have decided on your area of specialisation, your real search for a job in Finland would begin.

Not sure what are the steps involved in getting a job in Finland as a foreigner? We bring you a comprehensive guide to help.

Why Work in Finland?

Even before you start looking for a job, you should be able to answer this question with conviction. When you are planning to travel to the country and settle there for a job, this is a question you are likely to encounter often from people in your homeland. So, what should you tell them?

To begin with, Finland is a small country in Northern Europe where nature is still clean and people are the happiest in the world. It’s also one of the countries that lead in bridging the gender pay gap as it offers equal opportunities and pay to all and champions a feasible work-life balance.

If you need more reasons to work in Finland, you will have a long list to justify your choice, which is as follows:

  • A safe and secure setting for your family
  • Low crime rates
  • Excellent architecture that supports the nation’s wonderful skyline
  • Clean and healthy food, water, and air
  • Exceptional healthcare system
  • Healthy family living is given a top priority by employers
  • Free education (to any level) within the country
  • Suitable work hours and breaks
  • Social insurance
  • Parental leaves
  • Outstanding work environment
  • Emphasis on gender equality
  • Focus on national research and innovations
  • Social acceptance and trust

Getting a Job in Finland

Now that you have got enough reasons to work in Finland, you should understand the Finnish job market, check your qualification and eligibility, get your documents in order, hunt for a suitable job, and prepare to ace the interview.

1.      Know the Finnish Job Market

Finland has an extremely industrialised, largely free-market economy. For the nation, trade is vital, with exports making up more than one-third of its gross domestic product (GDP) in recent years. Finland’s industry accounts for almost 24% of the GDP and employs around 22% of the active population.

Apart from the traditionally well-developed sector of forestry, other important industrial sectors of the nation are manufacturing, principally metal and wood, along with mechanical engineering, electronic goods, energy, healthcare, and telecommunications.

Exporting information and communication technologies is another area Finland specializes in. This country is among those that invest substantially in R&D (approximately 2.76% of its GDP, according to the World Bank).

When it comes to Finland’s job market, you will have a wide range to choose from. From financial analysts, test engineers (say, for digital experience platforms), software developers, and mechanical design engineers to sales and marketing professionals, HR, tour guides, carpenters, healthcare experts, chefs, bartenders, welders, construction workers, industrial process workers, and more, you can choose from a varied pool of options based on your interests, experience, specialisation, and preferences. Perhaps you now have a clear answer to “what kind of jobs are in Finland?” or “what jobs can I apply for in Finland?”

2.      Check Your Qualification and Eligibility

In case you have completed your degree in another country, you are likely to need a decision of recognition of the degree (or diploma) to become eligible for working in Finland. You will have to apply for such recognition of qualification if you apply for a post or position in Finland that requires a higher education degree of a specific level or a particular level of education.

In most situations, the employer (especially those in the private sector), an educational institute, or a university evaluates the qualifications and competence provided by your foreign degree (or diploma).

If you want to work in a regulated profession or a position that mandates a higher education degree at a particular level, you will need a recognition decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education or another field-specific authority. For instance, decisions on social welfare and healthcare professions are made by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Valvira.

You can get recognition of qualification only with an application. Each of these applications is processed individually. However, a decision regarding recognition of a higher education qualification doesn’t convert your overseas qualification into a Finnish one. To get hold of a Finnish qualification title, you must successfully complete a Finnish qualification.

After your degree level has been acknowledged as equivalent to a higher education degree in Finland, you can apply for positions in Finland that demand a certain level of higher education. However, according to Finnish law, not all jobs require recognition of qualifications or specific training or degree level. For instance, a private sector employer typically evaluates independently whether the foreign diploma or degree you hold provides adequate qualifications for the job or position in question.

But regulated professions, such as nurses, pharmacists, doctors, dentists, or physiotherapists, for example, need specific education and training as specified in the law of the land.

You can apply for the recognition of professional qualifications from the Finnish authority in charge of the sector if you

  • are a citizen of an EU member state, Switzerland, or EEA member state, and
  • have qualified in another EU country, Switzerland, or EEA country for a profession that’s regulated in Finland.

In case your education and training are significantly different from the education and training necessary in Finland, you may have to complete a qualification test or an adjustment period.

3.      Get All the Necessary Documents and Permits Ready

If the original language of your degree, diploma, or other certificates isn’t English, Finnish, or Swedish, you will usually require an authorised translation of the documents. Such translations must be done by an authorised translator. However, you should check with your potential employer because a few companies and relevant authorities also acknowledge documents in some other European languages.

If you plan to work in Finland and stay for 90+ days, you must get a residence permit. In most cases, you will also require a residence permit to work in Finland for less than 90 days, though it largely depends on which country or region you are coming from. You can get details at the Finnish Immigration Service’s website.

Once you have created a user account and submitted your application in Enter Finland, your employers can supplement your application by adding relevant documents (including the pay) before you go and prove your identity. You can go online to follow your application status to notice when a decision has been made.

If you are bringing along your family members with you to Finland, all of you can apply for a residence permit simultaneously. Your spouse must create a user account to submit his or her own application in Enter Finland. You can send your children’s applications from your own user account.

Though the Finnish Immigration Service tries to make a decision on all these applications simultaneously, there are situations when it’s not possible. To live in Finland, it’s mandatory for your family to have adequate financial resources.

4.      Search for Companies and Jobs

After you have decided on your domains of interest, you should decide where you want to work, in what capacity, company, etc. When trying to zero in on locations, you could try using this tool (occupational barometer) to find the demand of professionals with specialisation similar to yours across different regions in Finland.

If you are looking to find an answer to “where to work in Finland,” the occupational barometer tool could help a lot. With it, you can get an estimate of Finland’s employment offices (TE offices) for a short-term overview of key professions and workforce availability. For instance, here’s what the demand for software developers looks like.

The Occupational Barometer

Image courtesy: https://www.ammattibarometri.fi/  

To find a job in Finland, some websites you can browse include Jobs in Finland and Job Market Finland. You could also search for companies in Finland you would love to work for and find their website’s career page or social media accounts to check if they have any suitable roles for you.

If they have, you can apply via their website or send in an application via social network (LinkedIn is the preferred choice of many in such cases though you can explore and use other platforms as well).

Updating your social media profile (especially LinkedIn) is yet another way to get noticed by recruiters looking for qualified professionals to work in Finland. Whether you wonder “how to get a job in Finland as an American” or feel unsure about “getting a job in Finland from India,” showcasing a positive professional image to potential employers could help you land your coveted job in the country.

Tapping into your network of family, friends, teachers, colleagues, etc., could also help your endeavour of finding a job in Finland. For example, if people you know are in Finland or have been there as citizens or long-term employees, you could request them to recommend you for a vacancy you are eyeing or ask them to share employment opportunities in their company or the locality of your choice if they can.

Visiting professional events in your own field, applying for being mentored, or engaging in voluntary work or activities of a Finland-based organisation can also help you build and nurture your network. You can then leverage the connections you have built for your job search. 

Since a sizable number of vacancies in Finland are hidden jobs that aren’t advertised publicly, you can contact interesting companies directly to ask if they have vacancies to suit your qualifications and experiences. Even if they don’t, you can always send in a forced job application to potential employers directly through email.

If all these sound too much to handle on your own, taking the help of a leading headhunter company with bases in Finland and your country can make finding a job in Finland easier and faster.

5.      Get Ready to Ace Your Job Interviews

All the steps mentioned above answer most of your questions related to “how do I get a job in Finland?” but an important step is still missing. And that’s acing the interview without which you may not get a job offer letter. Whether you have to appear for an in-person or virtual interview, it pays to be well-prepared and present yourself professionally.

If you are feeling jittery, take heart for you aren’t alone. Whether you are a teenager, a man, or a woman, we have the necessary information to help you choose the interview attire that lets you put your best foot forward. If you need more specific advice regarding what colours to wear to an interview, what not to wear, and the ideal Zoom interview attire, we have got you covered.

Apart from your attire, you should also research your potential employer. Try to learn everything you can about the open position, and identify your unique selling points (like specific skills, accomplishments, qualifications, and experiences) most suitable for the job. Be ready to tell the interviewers about yourself and what makes you a good fit for the position. You could be even asked what makes you interested to apply for the position.

You should brush up on your general interview skills (preferably with some mock interviews with a family member or friend), do some salary research, and be conscious of what your body language conveys. Be ready to ace a skill test or technical interview questions, if they are likely to be held or asked.

Lastly, don’t forget to plan what you will do if you are caught off guard, say with a question you don’t know how to answer. It always pays to be ready to handle the unexpected.

Final Words

If you were uncertain of landing a job and asking yourself “can I get a job in Finland?” before today, perhaps you now understand that you can definitely get a job in Finland. You just need to keep certain things in mind and prepare well to land that dream job of yours.

If the steps above sound like a Herculean task to handle on your own, you can always rely on experienced headhunters like those at InHunt World to accelerate your job search and get that job offer letter in your hands to make your dream of working in Finland come true.

This article was written by