Finding a job in Helsinki

Helsinki
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Updated on 06 February, 2020

The statistics don't lie. By looking at them, one can presume that in Finland, and in Helsinki, there will be an increasing demand for the workforce from abroad. The demographic forecasts show that the elderly population is growing rapidly vis-à-vis the younger generation. And not only that, the population is shrinking. The country needs more taxpayers and especially skilled labour force.

Want to work in Helsinki? There are certain procedures to go through. Boring, yes. But unavoidable.

Procedures for working in Helsinki as an expat

First, one should take care of the official formalities and bureaucracies. The first stop is the office of public employment and business services (TE Services). Visit them within a week after leaving your country and take all the documents, such as your passport and education and employment certificates with you.

Secondly, based on your application at TE Services, the Finnish Immigration Service grants (or not) a residence permit allowing you to work - for those coming from outside the European Union. As a citizen of another EU country or coming from Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland, you don't need a permit and can stay and work freely for 90 days. After that, you should register your right of residence.

Job hunting in Helsinki

After sorting out the paperwork, one can utilise the assistance offered by the public employment and business services (TE Services). The office will help you to proceed on your journey to the Finnish labour market. On the menu are tips and training for job hunting and basic information on workers' rights and benefits, on apprenticeships and on educational opportunities starting from language courses. There is also guidance for entrepreneurs and for those wishing to start their own business.

Helsinki has also taken the initiative and established its own services and websites, Helsinki Business Hub and International House Helsinki. The latter one also has a physical office in downtown Helsinki. Both of them provide all basic help starting from official documents to managing job interviews. You can also have a look at classified ads in local newspapers as well as job websites, including Expat.com's Jobs in Helsinki section.

Applying for a job in Helsinki

Speaking of which, the interview etiquette is laidback and informal, at least from the outset. It is good to do your homework, since hiring someone is a decision not taken lightly. Labour costs are quite high, and the companies want to see the return for their investment.

When it comes to creating a CV, of course, the basic ingredients have to be there – education, skills, experience. But, more and more an applicant is evaluated as an entity, someone with a personality, personal history and life experience. Showing a passion for say, backpacking in Asia may prove to be a better asset than a degree at some university. So, don't shy away from telling who you really are and what makes you tick.

Knowing at least some Finnish certainly helps, but it is not always necessary. In the health and welfare sector, there are jobs available, but you need to communicate in Finnish. In the service sector, not so much so. And in the start-up world and gaming industry – both booming – the official language is bad English. If you are a hacker or have a love of gadgets, maybe you should pay a visit to Slush, one of the world's biggest start-up gatherings taking place every November.

 Useful links:

International House Helsinki
Helsinki Business Hub
Slush
Te Palvelut
The Immigrants Helsinki
Foreigner - Moving to Finland
Jobs in Helsinki

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