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Diversity wins at the workplace

A diverse workplace helps meet a diversity of needs, writes James O’Sullivan.

Last month, Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen once again topped the list of Finland’s highest earners on what the New York Times referred to as National Jealousy Day. Aside from having a bulky bank balance, Paananen has also made headlines in recent years for his eagerness to pay the resultant hefty tax bill each year, welcoming the chance to give back to society.

Paananen’s ‘all for one’ approach was underlined again at Slush two weeks ago, when he announced that a free coding school is being founded in Finland next year. Literally open for everyone, Hive Helsinki, Paananen stated, is “not just [for] nerds and geeks – we need people from all walks of life to get into coding”.

The announcement couldn’t be timelier: society’s rapid digitalisation has created an urgent need for people of all backgrounds to come together and create. The origin of many of the world’s most successful tech companies stems from an alchemic meeting of founding members possessing different sets of skills. When paired with specialists from other fields, a coder can then help to meet a diversity of needs.

What’s more, nurturing a variety of skills is actively encouraged in the modern job market. Earlier generations rarely changed jobs in their lifetime, yet nowadays a career spent leapfrogging between industries and job titles barely raises an eyebrow.

“Society’s rapid digitalisation has created an urgent need for people of all backgrounds to come together and create.”

Digitalisation has also spurred the need for cultural diversity among personnel. The rise of global-first startups and the rapid internationalisation of companies mean that the modern workplace benefits from a global scope. A diversity of backgrounds can help to communicate in customers’ mother tongues, traverse the minefield of intercultural business practises and even provide access to previously established networks abroad.

In the midst of this, Finland has recently kick-started a vigorous campaign to attract foreign talents to its shores. The timing couldn’t be better. Couple this cultural injection with existing Finnish knowhow and a prosperous future is guaranteed, one that will learn new, innovative ways to strive forward on the collective strength of its different members.

James O’Sullivan
Managing editor, Good News from Finland