YLE: Finnish companies are wary of hiring foreigners for their own language skills

“About half of Finnish companies have already used international labor, but about 40 percent of companies have poor capacity to receive [international labour]. The biggest challenge is the language skills of the employers themselves, Elina Koskela, Barona’s director of global recruitment, told YLE.

His assessment is based on the results survey on attitudes towards the international workforce Commissioned by Barona Taloustutkimus, Finland’s leading private employment agency.

The study mapped the workforce situation, views and attitudes of 500 public and private sector organizations and defined the international workforce as foreign workers or workers with an immigrant background who do not speak Finnish fluently. More than half (54%) of the organizations considered language-related challenges to be a very or fairly major barrier to exploiting the international workforce.

Legislation and licensing procedures saw 40 percent of organizations as a very or fairly high barrier, 29 percent the quality of personnel services, 20 percent cultural challenges, and 10 percent of staff attitudes.

Hiring foreign language speakers seems to be challenging, especially for organizations that are inexperienced in international recruitment and not accustomed to using English.

“Naturally, we have jobs where proficiency in the Finnish language is essential, such as nursing and nursing jobs, but we would like to challenge companies a bit. Do you expect yourself to have too good language skills instead of daring to start a little weaker? Koskela asked.

About half of the organizations that responded to the survey reported that they were to some extent affected by labor shortages.

“Internationalization is a business for some, but a surprisingly large number have not recognized the international workforce as a solution to the skills shortage at all,” points out Lasona Määttä, CEO of Barona.

There are many ways to help cross the language barrier, he recalled.

“It ‘s not that difficult. Of course, there are several stages before you get a job [can starts], but help is available at every stage and problems can be solved, ”Koskela repeated.

Laura LindemanA senior expert from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy told YLE that bureaucracy and residence permit procedures are still the main obstacle for large companies. Other potential barriers include the lack of employment opportunities for recruiting partners and children’s access to school – both factors that employers really cannot address.

Language is also a challenge, he admitted. If employees in the workplace are used to communicating in Finnish or Swedish, it can be difficult to get an English-speaking employee involved; Either the working language would have to be changed or the employer would have to invest considerably in the language training of the recruited person.

“People are also worried about what this might do for conversations during a coffee break,” Lindeman said.

Small businesses often lack the expertise, experience and resources to hire international workers. “Often, recruitment takes place through networks, and companies can’t find the right people.”

Some companies also directly discriminate against foreign workers. For example, surveys have shown that some employers do not invite foreign-sounding names to interviews, even if they are qualified.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page


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