Finnish Industries encourages companies to recruit foreign students studying in Finland


Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) wants to encourage employers to recruit foreign students studying in Finland with its #STAYinFinland campaign. This is an easy way to introduce international thinking, contacts in target markets and fresh expertise to an organisation. It is also a solution for Finland’s shortage of experts.

There are approximately 20,000 foreign students studying at universities and universities of applied sciences in Finland. The main subjects studied are business, administration and law, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Engineering, manufacturing and construction.

According to the latest Eurostudent survey, as many as 90 per cent of foreign students have a positive attitude to the idea of staying in Finland after graduation. However, only half of these students will find employment in Finland. A quarter will end up moving from Finland within one year of graduation. This brain drain is a huge loss for Finland and the business community, as well as for the young people themselves.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), together with the Responsible Summer Job (Vastuullinen Kesäduuni) project, has launched a campaign to ensure that as many foreign students as possible stay in Finland and find work here. The patron of the #STAYinFinland campaign is Annika Saarikko, Minister of Science and Culture:

“There are over 20,000 foreign students in Finland, but too few of them find a place in Finnish working life. Let’s change this together! We must ensure that international talents who are studying here or have just gruaduated are able to embark on a career in Finland.”

According to the experiences of EK’s member companies, recruiting young people from different countries offers a wide range of benefits for the employer:

  • Solutions to skills shortages; latest knowledge gained through academic studies
  • More diverse corporate culture, new thinking for the employer organisation
  • First step to internationalisation
  • Additional resources for export projects (market surveys, contact mapping, language skills, etc.)
  • Local knowledge of the student’s home market

International competition for experts will increase, says Taina Susiluoto, Director of EK:

“Finland must be an attractive country not only for study but also for work. We need to make good employment opportunities a Finnish key advantage to encourage young people planning to study to choose Finland”.

Susiluoto also points out the effects of the COVID crisis:

“The number of new international students arriving in Finland is likely to plummet, and therefore every effort must be made to make sure that the international talents who are already here want to stay here!”

Many practical options

In addition to summer work, good practices for recruiting students in higher education students include on-the-job training, project work and commissioning of theses. One option is, of course, part-time work alongside studies, and recruitment of recent graduates after they have completed their qualification.

Students from countries outside the EU/EEA with a residence permit issued for study can do an average of 25 hours of work per week during term time. This restriction does not apply, however, to on-the-job training or theses that are part of the qualification.

Jobs suitable for foreign students can, for example, be advertised through the Jobs in Finland and Responsible Summer Job websites and through the higher education institutions’ career services.