Known for being a safe country that values a healthy work/life balance Finland offers exciting opportunities for foreign workers

The happiest country in the world has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is spoken predominantly on the western and southern coasts. While an understanding of Finnish or Swedish will help you settle in to your new surroundings, don't worry too much about not being understood. The majority of the population also speaks English, as it's taught in Finnish schools.

Popular destinations for expatriates in Finland include cities such as:

  • Helsinki (capital)
  • Tampere
  • Turku.

Workers in the country typically work an eight-hour day - an average of 35 to 40 hours a week. The Finnish love of coffee will help to get you through - it's estimated that each Finn consumes 12 kilograms of coffee per year - which equates to four to eight cups per day.

In your free time you'll get to explore all that Finland has to offer. Those who love being out in nature will particularly enjoy the green forests (taking up 74% of the country), beautiful landscapes and lakes (all 187,888 of them). Not to mention the Midnight Sun, a permanent sunrise throughout June and July.

Jobs in Finland

Finland's job market has traditionally been dominated by manufacturing, with its main exports including machinery, paper and wood products, electrical equipment, optical equipment, ships and vehicles.

However, the Finnish technology industry is growing and has fast become the country's biggest sector. In fact, Finland is regarded as a major European tech hub. Led by Nokia, which was a huge player in the early days of mobile phones and now focuses on network equipment, software and services, technology represents over half of Finnish exports.

If you're thinking of starting your own business the self-employment sector and start-up organisation are seeing growth, providing opportunities for English speaking professionals.

Metropolitan regions such as Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa are the biggest employment hubs but other big cities include:

  • Lappeenranta
  • Oulu
  • Tampere
  • Turku
  • Vaasa.

Popular graduate jobs

  • Chemicals
  • Electronics
  • Machinery and scientific instruments
  • Technology
  • Textiles

Start your job hunt by visiting Work in Finland and the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES).

You can also search for jobs on the following sites:

Skills shortages

When it comes to addressing labour shortages and filing the skills gap in Finland international workers are playing a major part.

There are plenty of opportunities for foreign professionals, especially if you speak English or are skilled in technology. Talent in the IT field is incredibly sought after but it isn’t the only area where jobs are in demand. Workers are also needed in:

  • bioeconomy
  • construction
  • cybersecurity
  • electronics
  • healthcare
  • healthcare technology
  • manufacturing
  • renewable technology.

Visit Wage Centre - Shortage occupations in Finland for a full list of shortage occupations in Finland.

How to get a job in Finland

If you're a member of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) you can move to Finland and look for work without the need of a residence permit.

However if you're from a country that is not a member of the EU/EEA (including the UK) then you'll need a residence permit to work in Finland. You can only apply for one of these when you have a job so you’ll have to start your job search from your home country.

There are plenty of ways to do this:

  • Start your search online. Finland's employment advisory service for international workers, TE-palvelut, provides an online service. Use the filtered search to display English-speaking opportunities. Alternatively, use recruitment sites, such as Jobly and Eurojobs, to see what's on offer.
  • Social media is a big part of recruitment in Finland. Follow Finnish companies and make industry connections through sites such as LinkedIn. Discover how to utilise social media platforms in your job hunt.
  • A lot of jobs aren't publicly advertised. Sending speculative applications to companies you'd like to work for is a great way to make a good first impression and demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to finding work.

It's important that your CV and cover letter are written to Finnish standards:

  • Your CV should be a maximum of two pages in length, easy to read and visually effective - list your relevant employment and experience in reverse chronological order, and don't waffle or exaggerate.
  • Your cover letter should be a maximum of one page and tailored to the specific employer - you won't get away with sending out multiple copies to a number of companies.

Expat-Finland provides CV and cover letter advice to give you an idea of what to aim for.

For more information on how to go self-employed or become a partner of a business, visit Expat Finland - Establishing a business in Finland.

Summer jobs

Finland has a thriving tourism industry so short-term, seasonal jobs are available year-round, with the majority usually on offer in the summer months.

You'll find jobs in the service sector in bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and resorts. Large seasonal employers include those in archipelago holiday destinations in the summer and Lapland in the winter.

Seasonal workers are also needed:

  • in catering
  • to run/manage sport activities
  • in tourist advice centres.

In the warmer months berry picking work is also available.

Alternatively, you could complete a volunteering placement to develop your skills, improve your Finnish and embrace the country's culture.

The Finnish branch of Service Civil International (SCI), Kansainvälinen vapaaehtoistyöry (KVT) organises short-term volunteer work camps. Typically lasting two weeks (although some projects run for 12 months), their aim is to support local initiatives while promoting equality, social acceptance and respect for the environment. You'll need to pay co-ordinance fees, and sort your own visa (where appropriate).

Teaching jobs

There are plenty of opportunities to teach English as a second language in Finland. It's a less popular teaching destination, so there are more job openings in urban areas, such as Tampere, Turku and the capital Helsinki.

You'll most likely find opportunities in private and international schools, and you won't need to be fluent in Finnish or Swedish to teach English - creating a strictly English-speaking classroom environment is preferable.

The minimum entry requirements to teach English in Finland are a Bachelors degree and Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. Individual schools may have their own requirements, so check before you apply. Explore the qualification further by reading our advice on teaching English abroad.


Finnish employers expect graduates to have relevant experience before they're hired. Internships and summer work placements may provide a gateway to employment.

What’s more completing an internship will also help you lean about Finnish working culture and could help you improve your language skills.

The best way to secure an internship is to email companies directly. While some job sites such as Jobs in Finland and Glassdoor advertise Finnish internships a lot of opportunities go unadvertised. 

Student placements can be arranged by:

  • AIESEC UK - for students and recent graduates
  • IAESTE UK - for science, engineering, technology and applied arts students.

Finnish visas

If you're an EU/EEA citizen or a resident of Switzerland, Liechtenstein or a Nordic country, you won't need a visa to enter Finland. However, you'll need to apply for a residence permit if you're staying longer than three months, which you'll do through your local police station.

All workers from outside these countries, including the UK, need to obtain a residence permit to enter Finland before arriving, which can be applied for in the Finnish embassy or consulate in your country or online through

You'll need a self-employment permit if you're moving to Finland to start a business, which can be granted once you've submitted your business to the Finnish Trade Register.

Residence permit applications can take up to four months to be processed and approved, so apply as early as possible.

If you're planning to stay longer than a year, you'll also need to register with the Finnish Population Information System, which you'll do through your nearest Local Register office.

Language requirements

As well as the country's two official languages of Finnish and Swedish, there are also a number of minority languages, including Romani, Sami and Finnish Sign Language.

While a good grasp of Finnish will be beneficial, not only to succeed professionally, but to integrate in society it's not essential for all roles. The vast majority of Finnish people can also speak English. If your job was advertised in English, and this is the main business language of your organisation you'll likely get by. However, to fully participate in life in Finland learning Finnish is a good idea.

If learning the national language is a requirement of your role your line of work will determine the level of proficiency you'll need. For instance, you'll need an excellent understanding of Finnish to work in healthcare, business and other customer-facing roles.

Sites such as and can help you improve your language skills for free, and Expat Finland - Finnish language training has information about language schools and courses.

How to explain your qualifications to employers

As Finland is a member of the Bologna Process, ensuring direct comparability of qualifications across EU member states, you shouldn't have a problem explaining the qualifications you've gained in the UK to Finnish employers.

However, you may be required to have your qualifications officially recognised to work in some regulated professions, such as healthcare and education. Your employer can advise on whether this applies to you - if so, you'll need to visit the Finnish National Agency for Education.

What it's like to work in Finland

As a foreign worker you'll have the same rights and responsibilities as a Finnish employee. You'll typically enjoy four to six weeks annual leave a year (the norm is five) in addition to 12 bank holidays.

The country currently leads the way in terms of flexible working with new laws (Working Hours Act) giving employees the opportunity to choose when and where they work for at least half of their contracted working hours.

You'll only pay tax if you're working in Finland for longer than six months, in which case you'll need to apply for a tax card at your local tax office. Visit Finland's tax administration website for more information.

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