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Why work in Finland is worth the shout

What's so great about Finnish working life? Let Tero Lausala from the Association for Finnish Work spill the beans.

Having lived in the US and the UK and worked in several multicultural organisations, I know Finland is known for, if anything, its Arctic climate, some top-class F1 drivers and a guy named Darude. Some more historically oriented people have also heard about Mannerheim, Kekkonen and Ahtisaari.

One of the best kept secrets about Finland is, however, its working life, which ranks in the top category in most international benchmarks.

In global comparison, working life in Finland is ranked high in terms of safety, competence and collaboration. We have a tendency for low-hierarchy organisations and high autonomy for employees combined with a strive for equality.

Finland is a very safe country, one of the safest in the world. In terms of occupational safety, we rank among the top in the world. Crime rates are low, corruption minimal and rule of law top notch.

We can work together, too. The forest industry, cleantech, gaming and design clusters are good examples of how companies work together, in close co-operation with R&D funders and academia. Increasingly, Finnish work is integrated in global networks, covering everything from cryogenics to genetics to IoT.

In a private conversation with the CEO of a large multinational which has invested in Finland for several decades now, I was told about what amazes him the most about working with Finns: “Continuous education and updating their own skill-sets seems to be a way of life in Finland – I never cease to be amazed at how ambitious our employees are to learn new things.”

I think this is the crux of why work from Finland is world-leading – we have a high respect for self-development and expanding personal professional competence. We are ready to welcome anybody with knowhow and a willingness to learn more. This is corroborated by the results of a study recently conducted by our leading market research company, Taloustutkimus, on what Finns believe to be our keys to success in the future: education came first, with equality and environment following suit.

If so many things are so good for working in Finland, what needs to change still? First, we need to tell the world – investors and top talent – about what Made by Finland really means – about what we are proud of and about why it is a great choice to come here. Second, we still have to strive for diversity in our workplaces, especially in the dynamically growing SME sector. The good news is that the majority of Finns see diversity as an opportunity rather than a threat.

*Originally published in June, 2017

Tero Lausala
CEO for the Association for Finnish Work (AFW)