Finnish companies will most likely best compete if they employ talented people from all over the world
18 May 2020
More than 400 000 people with an international background live in Finland. In Helsinki alone every sixth person has a background other than Finnish. The We Work-series shares glimpses of the real life stories of international professionals living and working in Finland.
Martin Bond, from the United Kingdom, spent a large part of his childhood in central Africa. Martin returned there for 13 years after training as an accountant in the UK. Since then Martin has spent his career in various financial management roles.
How did you end up in Finland?
Originally I came to Finland for family reasons with my Finnish wife.
How did you start and set up your new life in Finland?
When I first arrived in Finland, I spent a year studying for an MBA at the Helsinki School of Economics. This provided me with a qualification that local employers understood and also a useful network and contacts, which helped me get my first job in Finland. I have remained in employment as I have been able to use and develop my financial management skills experience in a way that is useful to a modern international company.
What challenges in the working life in Finland have you encountered?
I have had to adapt a lot in order to survive in my career, including moving abroad, working away from my family for a while and learning new skillsets to remain relevant. I have also had luck, which has enabled me to remain with the same international company for a long time.
What do you see as the main value of international professionals working in Finland?
Foreign professionals are vital to fill gaps in knowledge, skills and experience which are in short supply or unavailable in Finland. These are needed to maintain Finland’s international competitiveness.
How would you comment on the language matter? Do you feel you need Finnish/Swedish?
Due to working internationally for an international employer, I am ashamed to say I only speak English. From the professional point of view, speaking Finnish has not been necessary as English is the international business language. Also most Finns speak fluent English. However, if I had to change anything of my life in Finland, I would have liked to have spent a year learning Finnish.
What is your message to international job seekers in Finland?
Remember that Finland needs you. Emphasise your skills and experience, rather than where you have learnt or applied your knowledge. I found that Finnish employers started to get interested in me when I used a competence based CV. Make yourself relevant, be resilient and remember looking for a job is itself a full-time job.
What is your message to companies employing people in Finland?
Diversity brings valuable new knowledge and opportunities to companies. It also helps Finnish employees gain new perspectives and skills to which they would otherwise not be exposed. Silicon Valley and the City of London maintain their edge by employing talented people from all over the world. Finnish companies will most likely best compete if they do the same.
If you are an international professional living in Finland, you can register your CV with Pointer Potential here.