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‘Finding a job in Finland is not easy for foreigners’

Audrey Poudrier Tremblay is an Aalto University alumna who shared her story of working in Finland as part of the Finland Works open online course by Aalto University launched in September 2021.
Audrey Poudrier Tremblay being interviewed for a video.
Audrey Poudrier Tremblay giving an interview about Finnish work culture / photo: Roope Kiviranta

The Finland Works open online course launched in September 2021. The self-directed course gained 500 users in only a few days, and the number of learners continues to grow rapidly. The course content is presented in both videos, podcasts and texts on the learning platform. We asked the international Aalto alumni featured in the course videos to share their insights into Finnish work culture and building a career in Finland. One of them is Audrey Poudrier Tremblay from Quebec, Canada.

‘Finland is not easy for foreigners to find jobs,’ Poudrier Tremblay states. She names the lack of networks and not knowing Finnish as the main hindrances for employment in Finland. ‘When you start to search for jobs as a foreigner, you start with no contacts. We already start a few steps back compared to people who have lived here their whole lives,’ Poudrier Tremblay says.

The cultural and societal structures do not yet fully support the international talents who already are in Finland, according to Poudrier Tremblay. ‘I think there’s incredible strength in diversity and bringing in different points of view. Finland is great, but it hasn’t tapped into the international possibilities yet enough, and I’m hoping that it’s about to change soon.’

The Finland Works open online course by Aalto University offers insights into Finnish work culture and building a career in Finland. The course is designed especially for international students and job seekers who wish to know more about the characteristics of Finnish working life. The course is authored by recruitment and career specialists and complemented with stories and experiences from Aalto University international alumni. Finland Works is part of the Future of Work online learning module.

Flat hierarchies increase inclusiveness

Poudrier Tremblay first got acquainted with Finland during her bachelor’s exchange studies, and later she did her master’s degree at Aalto University in Industrial Engineering and Management. Currently, she works for KONE as an Operational Planning Manager in Global Maintenance. Poudrier Tremblay’s journey with KONE started with a trainee program that introduced her to Finnish work culture and its characteristics. She thinks that the hierarchy in Finland is much flatter than in Canada.

‘When I started as a trainee, I felt that my opinion was valued. I was encouraged to challenge the opinion of others, including people much higher in the hierarchy than myself,’ tells Poudrier Tremblay.

One concrete example of the flat organisation culture was using people’s first names when addressing them. ‘My colleagues were talking about the CEO of the company by his first name!’ Poudrier Tremblay laughs. ‘That was quite telling to me about Finnish work culture.’

My colleagues were talking about the CEO of the company by his first name!

Audrey Poudrier Tremblay

Connecting with Finns

Audrey Poudrier Tremblay praises equality in Finland, not only in working life but also at the societal level.

‘Equality is well-rooted in the Finnish society in general, and as an example, Finland is a great country for women. Women are well-represented in government and leadership positions,’ Poudrier Tremblay notes.

For international job seekers, her advice is to approach interesting people on LinkedIn and other networks, even if you don’t know the person in advance.

‘Be bold and find a way to connect with people,’ Poudrier Tremblay encourages.

Watch Audrey Poudrier Tremblay’s whole story below and register for the Finland Works course here:

https://futureofwork.fi/courses/finland-works/

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