“Give us a chance, you won’t be disappointed”–how do inter­na­tio­nal experts and com­pa­nies find each other?

International talents at BusinessAsema

Are you loo­king for an inter­na­tio­nal expert for your com­pa­ny? It’s easy to employ a skil­led wor­ker in the Oulu region, as various sources offer sup­port in rec­rui­ting. ‘Addi­tio­nal­ly, circa 12 000 foreig­ners live in Oulu, who have the ent­husiasm and exper­ti­se to offer to local busi­nes­ses’, says Sal­la Hir­vo­nen, Pro­ject Mana­ger of Oulu Talent Hub.

Flexi­bi­li­ty and balance. Among others, the­se two things come to Mous­ta­fa Khair’s mind regar­ding the Fin­nish wor­king cul­tu­re and its best cha­rac­te­ris­tics, which he great­ly apprecia­tes.

Mous­ta­fa, an Egyp­tian, moved to Oulu two years ago in Janua­ry 2021. He comple­ted a Master’s degree in Data Proces­sing Science in just over a year at the Oulu Uni­ver­si­ty and specia­lized in AI.

He alrea­dy wor­ked for Nokia during his stu­dies and also comple­ted his Pro Gra­du the­sis with Nokia. After which, he has wor­ked for a num­ber of Fin­nish com­pa­nies. At the moment, Mous­ta­fa is emplo­yed by Dent­su Fin­land.

– I got my first job six weeks after moving to Fin­land. But I star­ted loo­king for work long befo­re coming here. It’s impor­tant to research the labor mar­ket, and the requi­red qua­li­fica­tions befo­re­hand, says Mous­ta­fa.

– Wor­king in the tech­no­lo­gy industry, not spea­king the local lan­gua­ge is defi­ni­te­ly not the big­gest bar­rier. The more inter­na­tio­nal the com­pa­ny is, the less com­pe­tence in Fin­nish is requi­red.

Networ­king plays an impor­tant part in job searc­hing, he admits. He thinks it’s good to know the right people and to hear from them about so-cal­led hid­den jobs, because not all job ope­nings are adver­ti­sed in public searc­hes.

– Loo­king for jobs wit­hin my field was chal­len­ging, but a rewar­ding process. The best thing about work life in Fin­land is the balance between work and pri­va­te life. My mana­gers have always made sure I’m not over­bur­de­ned and that I get to rest enough.

Mous­ta­fa, during his stu­dies, also par­tici­pa­ted in seve­ral rec­ruit­ment fairs and networ­king events, and he found them to be crucial in hel­ping him find work. The­se events were arran­ged by the educa­tio­nal ins­ti­tu­tes, the City of Oulu, and Oulu Talent Hub, he says.

Moustafa also participated in Oulu Talent Hub’s activities as an ambassador in 2022.
Mous­ta­fa also par­tici­pa­ted in Oulu Talent Hub’s acti­vi­ties as an ambas­sa­dor in 2022.

“Concerns regar­ding the spouses’ com­fort”

Sal­la Hir­vo­nen, Pro­ject Mana­ger of Oulu Talent Hub (OTH) has noticed in her work that inter­na­tio­nal experts first and fore­most wish for trans­pa­rency from com­pa­nies in their job ope­ning adver­ti­se­ments. They also wish for more networ­king events in Oulu, whe­re they could meet with locals.

– Job ope­nings are often adver­ti­sed in English, but the job may still requi­re per­fect Fin­nish skills. It would be impor­tant to sta­te in the job adver­ti­se­ment if the job requi­res com­pe­tence in Fin­nish and the level of com­pe­tence requi­red, says Sal­la Hir­vo­nen.

On the other hand, for busi­nes­ses in Oulu, fin­ding a sui­table skil­led wor­ker and the lack of lan­gua­ge skills are often the big­gest chal­len­ges in inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ments. The­re may not be a com­mon lan­gua­ge, or chan­ging the lan­gua­ge of busi­ness mee­tings to English might be a big ask for the com­pa­ny, says Sal­la.

– In addi­tion, com­pa­nies are also concer­ned about the com­fort of the spouses of inter­na­tio­nal experts in Oulu. Will they be able to find work, friends or stu­dy places, and will the fami­ly find a sui­table school for the children?

– We are cons­tant­ly deve­lo­ping our ser­vices in Oulu and we are atten­ti­ve to the needs of com­pa­nies. Around a 100 indi­vi­dual com­pa­nies have par­tici­pa­ted in the Oulu Talent Hub acti­vi­ties, and we have offe­red them, for ins­tance, free-of-char­ge coac­hing, men­to­ring as well as infor­ma­tion and rec­ruit­ment events, Sal­la men­tions.

Nowa­days, the­re is a lot of sup­port avai­lable for inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ments – and they are made easy by focusing on the experts resi­ding wit­hin the Oulu region, Sal­la sug­gests.

– The­re are around 12 000 foreig­ners living in Oulu. They have the ent­husiasm, exper­ti­se and a great deal more to offer to local com­pa­nies. The pri­ma­ry mes­sa­ge they usual­ly have for local emplo­yers is “give us a chance, you won’t be disap­poin­ted.

Oulu Talent Hub recent­ly com­pi­led a “Welco­me to Oulu” broc­hu­re for people who have just moved to Oulu or who are plan­ning to move here. The Oulu Talent Hub web­pa­ges also con­tain impor­tant infor­ma­tion for com­pa­nies and inter­na­tio­nal experts concer­ning the dif­fe­rent ser­vices avai­lable in Oulu. www.oulutalenthub.fi

– In the ear­ly spring of 2023, we will com­bi­ne a num­ber of dif­fe­rent ser­vices under the “Inter­na­tio­nal House Oulu” concept. The phy­sical loca­tion will be Busi­ness­A­se­ma. Likewi­se, we are going to publish compre­hen­si­ve web­pa­ges, whe­re both inter­na­tio­nal people and com­pa­nies can easi­ly find infor­ma­tion under one roof.

Lear­ning from the men­to­ring pro­gram

E. Helaa­kos­ki Oy is a lif­ting ser­vices com­pa­ny, who belie­ves they will have more inter­na­tio­nal wor­kers in the futu­re. Mar­ke­ting Mana­ger Iiris Helaa­kos­ki says that the­re is a shor­ta­ge of vehicle cra­ne dri­vers at the moment.

– We have recent­ly star­ted thin­king about rec­rui­ting inter­na­tio­nal experts on a lar­ger sca­le. Our goal is to find com­pe­tent cra­ne dri­vers, and this is one option that we’re loo­king into, says Iiris Helaa­kos­ki.

– We have around 130 emplo­yees at the moment. A few of them are inter­na­tio­nal wor­kers. The lon­gest work cont­ract with an inter­na­tio­nal wor­ker has been ten years.

The com­pa­ny has par­tici­pa­ted in the joint men­to­ring trai­ning arran­ged by Oulu Talent Hub and Oulun Kaup­pa­ka­ma­ri. Accor­ding to Iiris, the “Poh­joi­sen bis­nes­hal­ti­jat” men­to­ring pro­gram has been very help­ful for their com­pa­ny.

During the men­to­ring pro­gram, they pon­de­red, for example, on what the path for inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment could look like for E. Helaa­kos­ki Oy and what prac­tical chan­ges would be requi­red in the orga­niza­tio­nal cul­tu­re.

– At the moment all of our wor­kers speak Fin­nish, but moving forward we’ll have to think about whet­her we could par­tial­ly use English as a lan­gua­ge of com­mu­nica­tion. This, of cour­se, depends a great deal on our cus­to­mers and their demands.

People at BusinessAsema

Sup­port on an inter­na­tio­nal level

  1. Sup­port ser­vices for inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment have deve­lo­ped at a light speed over the past couple of years in Fin­land. Last year a so-cal­led fast-track lane was ope­ned for specia­lists, through which it is pos­sible to get a resi­dence per­mit in two weeks
  2. Recent­ly a com­mon pho­ne and email con­sul­ta­tion ser­vice was establis­hed for emplo­yers, offe­ring low-cost con­sul­ta­tions on all inter­na­tio­nal hiring-rela­ted issues.
  3. A new ser­vice in 2023 will be a men­to­ring pro­gram direc­ted at mana­gers. Busi­ness Finland’s Talent fun­ding is being upda­ted to sup­port com­pa­nies’ com­pe­tence in inter­na­tio­nal rec­ruit­ment and in lea­ding an inter­na­tio­nal wor­king com­mu­ni­ty.
  4. In addi­tion, the Työ­paik­ka Suo­mi ‑pal­ve­lu ser­vice for lear­ning the lan­gua­ge is still avai­lable.

The goal of Oulu Talent Hub was to sup­port the emplo­y­ment of inter­na­tio­nal experts in the com­pa­nies of the Oulu region, for ins­tance, through com­pa­ny visits, rec­ruit­ment and infor­ma­tion events, as well as job searc­hing works­hops. The enti­ties res­pon­sible for the pro­ject (1.2.2021–31.1.2023) were Business­Oulu, Oulun Kaup­pa­ka­ma­ri, Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu, Oulu Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sciences and OSAO. The pro­ject was fun­ded by the Euro­pean Social Fund ESF.

You can read more posi­ti­ve career sto­ries from inter­na­tio­nal experts here.