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Finding work in Finland

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Working in Finland will be good for you: the country boasts good working conditions and a high level of employment security. But working in Finland will also be good for Finland itself, as it’s most likely going to face a labour shortage in the future. Despite the recent economic ups and downs, particularly in the services and healthcare sectors, the need for more skilled hands is big.

Job-hunting in Finland

This probably goes without saying, but you should start looking for a job in Finland before you move there. Both from a legal standpoint in some cases (you need to have to job to get your permit and enter the country if you’re not a Nordic or an EU citizen) but also from a logistic one, as finding a job will likely take some time. Many jobs are not advertised publicly and you'll have to either rely on your personal network (friends, relatives, even neighbours or past colleagues) or be very proactive with your search. For instance, in Finland, it is not an uncommon practice to send an “open application” (avoin hakemus) to a company that interests you, even if they don’t have any openings at the moment. Just make sure to state your skills clearly, as well as what kind of tasks you would be interested in undertaking for them. Another option would be to contact/follow the companies that interest you on social media, so that you can stay informed about any vacancies.

Even if you don’t have any specific companies in mind, there are some helpful tools available. A good starting point is the online service of the Employment and Economic Development Offices (it lists all currently vacant, publicly advertised positions). There’s also EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal, which also provides information on vacancies, as well as on the labour market situation in the country. And, of course, you have the internet: type “vacancies” (avoimet työpaikat) -- most web pages for jobs will allow you to fill in and send your application and some might even ask you to save your CV for future use.

Another option would be an agency that hires temporary workers. You’ll get a contract with them, and they can 'hire you out' to other employers, as needed. You can find companies like that online, by typing 'employment services' (työnvälityspalvelu).

Setting up a business

If you’ve decided to start your own business in Finland, you’ll find that there are many resources available to help you in this endeavour.

Once you’ve come up with an idea you’re happy with, you’ll have to make a business plan. When it comes to funding, loans are a common source of financing for new entrepreneurs -- and can be granted by a bank or Finnvera, a specialised financing company owned by the State of Finland. If your business has the prerequisite of maintaining profitable operations, but you don’t have the down payment or collateral a bank would require, then you may be granted a loan or a security by Finnvera.

You can figure out your different financing options by visiting the Enterprise Finland website, and find out whether or not you are eligible to receive a grant for establishing your business from the TE Office.

Then, you need define what kind of company you need to start. Finland has many different company forms, from proprietorship (toiminimi) and partnership (avoin yhtiö) to limited partnership (kommandiittiyhtiö), limited company (osakeyhtiö) and cooperative association (osuuskunta). Based on the form of your company and the type of goods or services you will be involved with, you may need certain permits. For example, if you’re selling foodstuffs, or operate a beauty salon, an inspection of the premises must be carried out by the municipal health authorities before you can actually open for business. To find whether a permit is required for your specific type of business, contact a Regional State Administrative Agency or visit the Enterprise Finland website.

After that, you need to notify the Trade Register of the National Board of Patents and Registration in Finland (Patentti- ja rekisterihallitus) and the Tax Administrations of your company and make sure that you have the necessary insurance. You can find more information about self-employed pension insurance at the Finnish Centre for Pensions and information about insuring employees at the Enterprise Finland website.

Doing an internship

Internships (or traineeships, as they are more commonly known) in Finland are mostly done via EU programmes like Erasmus and student organisations. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t also search for a traineeship independently, but you’ll have to do the same kind of research you’d do to find a job, and be equally proactive about it.

If you are enrolled at a European university, you can participate in the Erasmus traineeship programme. Your home university might assist you in finding a traineeship placement in Finland, or you can check the Erasmus web service for traineeship vacancies. Once you have found your spot, you can apply for an Erasmus traineeship grant from your home university.

The labour market in Finland

The Finnish labour market is indeed showing signs of improvement. Unemployment is falling for those with basic education (and for foreign citizens), although it is increasing among those with a doctorate or equivalent level of tertiary education. In June 2017, the unemployment rate was 8.9%.

Finland also places a lot of value in vocational training -- primarily for adults who are unemployed or run the risk of losing their jobs. Free vocational training is offered at vocational adult education centres, at higher education institutions, and at private educational institutions.

  Useful links:

Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
European jobs network
Finnish Centre for Pensions
Enterprise Finland
Erasmus Internships
Statistics Finland

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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