International talents: Finland’s country brand remains positive in spite of the changed security environment


The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK conducted a survey on Finland’s attractiveness as a country of residence and work. The survey was answered by international business leaders and top talents currently living in Finland. The survey found that Finland’s brand remains positive in spite of the changed security situation. In addition, NATO membership would further strengthen Finland’s appeal.

EK survey results:

  • Finland’s security environment has changed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s image has not, however, been jeopardised by this: almost half of the foreign top talents living in Finland felt that the Russian war has not weakened their perception of Finland as a country of residence and work. One in four respondents estimated that Finland’s attractiveness had weakened as a result of the war.
  • Close to 40 per cent felt that the future NATO membership will strengthen Finland’s appeal to international experts, a third of the respondents were neutral about NATO membership and a quarter believed it will weaken the appeal.

EK also surveyed Finland’s strengths and weaknesses from three different points of view:

  • When deciding whether to move to Finland, local working culture was the principal strength. Nearly 70 per cent said it had weighed in Finland’s favour. The most significant weakness was finding a suitable job and otherwise building a career in Finland. Another challenge concerns the difficulties experienced by spouses in finding employment.
  • With regard to working and studying in Finland, the main strengths were the quality of education and confidence in the authorities and the government. Finnish language proficiency requirements were perceived as the biggest problem.
  • With regard to daily life, public safety and the balance between work and leisure were considered the most important factors. The high cost of living, on the other hand, was seen as a weakness.

“Finland’s country brand remains positive among top talents recruited from abroad,” says Siamäk Naghian, Managing Director of Genelec, who represents international business executives at the EK:

“A positive working culture, safe daily life and the balance between work and leisure are even more important in times of increasing insecurity worldwide. Finland should actively highlight these advantages. We do have room for improvement, too. Many Finnish companies would already be able to operate in English as well as in Finnish. However, the real challenge is being able to identify diversity as an international competitive advantage and to lead people as a multicultural organisation.”

The EK survey was carried out in September 2022 with a questionnaire sent to business leaders, top talents and students who have moved to Finland from abroad. Around 120 responses were received. The survey was carried out in cooperation with the EK’s International Business Club network, which consists of international business executives working in Finland. The network is chaired by Siamäk Naghian.

Results of the survey in infographs

EK’s press release in Finnish.