How about getting a job in Finland?

Have you ever considered working in Finland? Our article includes info and links covering everything from job ads to work-life balance.

Finland has a lot to offer: a high standard of living, a safe and well-functioning society and easy access to nature. The UN’s World Happiness Report named it the happiest country on earth many years in a row.

It also has jobs. As the baby-boom generation retires, Finland needs more people in the workforce.

Living and working in Finland

Three adults and one child stand by their bicycles with greenery and a lake in the background.

One attractive aspect of living in Finland is proximity to nature and recreation areas, even in urban areas. These cyclists have visited the beach in Tahmela, a neighbourhood in the southern central Finnish city of Tampere.Photo: Laura Vanzo/Visit Tampere

There are many benefits to working in Finland. Thriving, innovative industries offer plenty of opportunities to advance your career and develop your skills. In addition, Finnish people know that life is more than just work, so a healthy work-life balance is important to them.

Finland is a safe, stable, functioning society where public services such as healthcare and public transportation run smoothly. The country also has thriving sports, recreation and culture scenes. Beautiful nature areas and wilderness are easily accessible, even from the largest cities. All children and adolescents enjoy excellent educational opportunities in one of the world’s best education systems, free of charge.

Looking outward

On the shore of a lake, a man points at something on the horizon while a child looks in the same direction.

A dad and his child spend quality family time at Rauhaniemi, a lakeside park not far from downtown Tampere.Photo: Laura Vanzo/Visit Tampere

Many Finnish employers are accustomed to recruiting people from abroad. The high-tech sectors have experienced the largest increase in job openings in recent years. Manufacturing and the service sector are also predicted to need more workers in the coming years.

In the past, it was accurate to some extent to say that Finland was a homogenous country. However, we have always looked outward, and today that is truer than ever. As a company grows, it typically needs to expand internationally because the domestic market has a limited size. Young entrepreneurs go global immediately when they start a new business – their generation was born global.

Labour mobility

Two men lift boards into place on a building under construction.

These guys are helping build energy-efficient housing in Helsinki.Photo: Jukka Rapo/Keksi/Finland Image Bank

As a member of the EU, we enjoy labour mobility. In 2020, a total of 32,898 people moved to Finland, while 15,084 emigrated from the country. Work-related immigration and social integration form part of the agenda of policymakers.

High-tech and gaming

Several women and men sit at their computers in a bright modern office.

Finnish companies in the high-tech and gaming sectors recruit domestically and internationally.Photo: Jarno Mela/Finland Image Bank

Finland has a large and highly developed technology sector. For decades, Finnish companies and Finnish technology have played a major role in sectors such as mobile technology, electronics, cybersecurity, software and gaming. These companies are always looking for talented professionals and often recruit from abroad.

It’s no secret that Finland is great place to progress in a career in ICT, the gaming industry or digitalisation. The country’s innovations enable companies and individuals around the world to enjoy experiences and solutions like never before. Finland was the one to bring 5G, SMS, and the Linux operating system to the world, to mention just a few examples. Finnish ICT companies offer rewarding job opportunities to international talent eager for career advancement.

Explore the industry on Business Finland’s website to see how to join other talented professionals in Finland in creating the ICT and digitalisation innovations of the future.

Finland has thriving ecosystems in bioeconomy and health technology, where leading companies develop new solutions together with universities, research institutions and startups. These fields offer unique career opportunities in projects that are solving worldwide problems. Read more about the bioeconomy and health and wellbeing fields on Business Finland’s website.

The language question

Several smiling people sit and stand around a conference table.

Many employers and municipalities help arrange Finnish language courses.Photo: Jarno Mela/Finland Image Bank

Local authorities – and many employers, too – provide immigrants and their families with language training, either free or at a low cost. Immigrants are entitled by law to integration services; employment and economic development offices and local authorities carry the prime responsibility for organising them.

The level of Finnish language skills necessary depends greatly on the nature of the work. In sectors that deal with the public, a knowledge of Finnish is important and in some cases mandatory.

However, for some jobs you might not need Finnish at all. Many big multinational firms use English as their company language because they have a diverse global workforce and customers. The ICT and gaming sectors are also very international, and even tiny startups in these industries tend to use English.

Learning a language is no small task, but it is by no means impossible. In most cases people find that knowing at least some of the local language is a way to learn more about the culture and participate fully in society. Info Finland offers a great list of online courses and resources for learning Finnish, so you can start before you arrive.

Entrepreneurs and remote workers

Several men work in a room where all the walls are lined with shelves holding various TV screens.

This enterprise in Tampere uses smart technologies to expand TV’s digital content possibilities. ICT companies are among the Finnish businesses searching for international professionals.Photo: Sofia Digital/Laura Vanzo/Visit Tampere

Most of this article has dealt with the traditional employee–employer relationship, but the world of work is evolving in Finland, as it is all over the world. Entrepreneurship continues to grow, and immigrants have founded many startups. Finland has also become a popular home for digital nomads – freelancers and remote workers who can work anywhere in the world.

So if you’re looking for a job in another country, or a home for your new business, or maybe a place to live while working remotely, consider Finland, which has repeatedly received recognition as the happiest country on earth.

10 steps to working and living in Finland

1. You can see Business Finland’s Work in Finland website for information about searching for professional opportunities in Finland. They also have a LinkedIn page called #FinlandWorks. Also, check open positions on sites such as Jobs in Finland or the European Employment Services. Finnish newspapers and their websites maintain job advertisement listings (in Finnish).
2. Find out what permits you will need to live and work in Finland at the Finnish Immigration Service website. Business Finland also features a general summary of the rules for entrepreneurs and employees.
3. Do you need recognition of your educational qualifications? In Finland, recognition decisions are made by qualified authorities, educational institutions and employers. For regulated professions you will need a decision issued by the relevant authority. In the healthcare sector applications should be addressed to Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.
4. To find a place to live and to open a bank account, first go to your employer, who will be able to guide you to the local services. Regarding integration and language matters, children’s schooling, healthcare and social security, turn to the local authorities in your new home municipality. The multilingual website Info Finland has a page about this, while more information about municipalities is available from the Association of Finnish Municipalities. Social security is managed by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution.
5. What can you bring with you to Finland? Are you worried about your pet or car? See the Finnish Customs website.
6. Foreigners residing in Finland for one year or more (and in some cases those planning to live here for less than a year) need to register with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. It has service locations across the country.
7. Is your driving license valid in Finland? Ask the police or the Finnish Vehicle Administration for information.
8. Does an immigrant have to pay taxes? If so, what is the procedure? Find out on the Tax Administration website. Also: Can taxes make people happy?
9. Will you need further education or Finnish language courses? Study the options on the Study Info website for a broad overview of upper secondary and higher education. The Study in Finland website concentrates on higher education. Info Finland offers a great list of online courses and resources for learning Finnish, so you can start before you arrive.
10. What is life like in Finland? ThisisFINLAND offers all kinds of articles about various aspects of life in Finland, but for basic information you might also try or Info Finland (the latter appears in 12 languages).

By Salla Korpela and David J. Cord, updated October 2021