The Amcham team represents six nationalities: American, British, Canadian, Estonian, Finnish and Greek. (Over the years, we’ve had fourteen of them. And six religions. And seven mother tongues.)
According to research, organizations with more diversity in their workforce grow and outperform those with less.
Let’s hear what two of our colleagues, Kristina and Kalliopi, think.
After years of working for large oil and gas and railway companies in Canada, I moved to Brussels in 2002 to work for KONE. Almost immediately I started to travel to Finland. My first trip to Helsinki I arrived at midnight in August on the tarmac, to orange sky and clean air. It was an instant comfort and love. It took my homesickness away.
I eventually made the move to Finland in 2009. Canada is an amazing place, I miss it tremendously, but being here with young kids is a blessing. The services available to families and children is amazing, even compared to Canada.
Most of my career has been in working in traditionally male dominated areas. I learned quickly that being a female added a different perspective to the conversation. This holds true when adding different cultures and nationalities to your team.
Having a wide perspective of opinions give you the greatest opportunity to truly connect with your audience. Layering and depth brings a more robust team, which is a huge asset when dealing with businesses from across the globe.
Language requirements can sometimes be a challenge to finding a great job here in Finland. But there are good companies and interesting projects out there. Make sure your network is mixed with locals and foreigners. And leverage your internationalism as a strength and not a weakness.
— Kristina Sweet, Canada
Finns always ask me why I came to Finland, but I think the real question is what made me stay.
I’m originally from Greece, but I left to study and work abroad almost eight years ago. I came to Finland in 2010 after I was offered a job here. My first impression, having literally just stepped off the plane, was 2 meters of snow and a temperature of -30 C. I found it very exotic.
Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons I stayed in Finland – but it wasn’t the main reason. I fell in love with the city, the nature, and the people. I also found love on the way, which definitely helped in my decision to stay.
I started working at Amcham seven months ago. Looking back, I’ve almost exclusively worked or studied alongside people with diverse backgrounds. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Diversity is the best way to learn from others and it’s a tremendous mind-opener.
For companies, think of diversity as a disrupter. You can be much more innovative if your employees with different ways of thinking.
My advice to those currently job hunting in Finland is to continuously improve on your skills, learn how to sell yourself and network. Being talented isn’t enough, you have to know how to channel it. Sign up for events, work on your presentation skills, meet people, and really talk to them.
Don’t be afraid to meet new people and to take that first step. If you’ve ever read the “Finnish Nightmares” cartoon, just imagine that Finns probably feel more uncomfortable than you do in many of these situations.
— Kalliopi Papadopoulou, Greece
Amcham has partnered with EK, Team Finland, Finpro, Sitra, and Me2we to build the Findwork.fi service connecting Finnish enterprises with highly-educated internationals.