Ilmiöitä työstä

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26.1.2017 16.15

Unused talent

Just recently Tekniikka&Talous published a news article reporting that there is more and more brain drain from Finland. However, at the same time we fail to utilize our brain gain. Every year around 5000 international students arrive in Finland to study at a higher education institute. There are currently over 20 000 international students studying in Finland.
I found in my study that at the moment about two-thirds of the international graduates from Aalto University are employed. But if we look at the big picture we see that only about 50% of all international higher education graduates are employed. This is worrying since at the same time demographic dependency ratio weakens in Finland. This means that the number of people working and paying taxes is decreasing in relation to the people who are underage or have retired.

Internationals lack Finnish language skills and the right networks

Main obstacles for employment are the lack of Finnish language skills and the lack of the right networks. Finnish graduates have had their entire youth to create networks, where as international students only spend two to four years in the university creating networks while studying. Fortunately, a group from Aalto University is trying to find a solution for this issue. With their idea they won the first prize in ACID16 competition at Slush 2016.

We also need to find a solution for how to find thesis placements for internationals from private sectors since that seems to increase employability. I found in my study that internationals do not get employed in the small and medium size companies as much as locals do. This could be due to the lack of contacts or because of the language barrier. CIMO is currently working on a promising project to find ways to bring the potential of international students into better use in internationalisation efforts of SMEs.

Other issues affecting the employment of international graduates

However, there is still much more to do to make the situation better for international graduates than to just get them employed. We must consider the quality of the employment. In the VALOA-study it was found that 23,7% of international university graduates have had to take a job which could have been performed with lower education. In TEK’s student barometer it was also found that international graduates have more part-time vacancies than locals. From a study conducted by OTUS we can see huge differences with the quality of the vacancies between locals and internationals coming from outside of EU/EEA area.

In addition to the quality of the employment there are still issues with discrimination. I found in my study that 20% of the respondents had faced discrimination and even more considered that employers do not trust immigrants. Similar results were found in the study conducted by OTUS, where 42,4% of the respondents had negative experiences about employers’ attitudes towards internationals.

There is still lot to do if we wish to get this unused talent in use. It is not just the problem of universities, actions are needed from companies, government and of course from students themselves.

Main points of this blog are from Niko Ferm’s thesis “Employability of international graduates from the field of technology and business”. The focus in the thesis was in the recent graduates (during years 2014 to 2016) from Aalto University. The thesis was conducted in co-operation with Tekniikan Akateemiset (TEK), Suomen Ekonomit and Teknologiateollisuus.

Find out more about this topic on Tuesday 31st of January on the Work Up! Multicultural Working Life -seminar. Follow the event online!

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