b - Basics of the Finnish job market
Throughout the years, we have realized that a few basics of the Finnish job market were sometimes unclear to many of our participants. As this document may age, we haven’t written down specific information and encourage you to look for the most updated details. Nevertheless, here are a few essentials for you to know!
Degrees, certification, past contracts and proof
In Finland, it is quite common to be asked to give proof of any degree or certification that you claim having. When moving to Finland, make sure to have copies of your diplomas, courses certificates, diplomas etc. You will probably be asked to provide them to your employment counselor, as well as by your potential employer. Another important point is that in Finland, quite differently than in many other EU countries, lower skilled jobs very often require you to have a certificate, a specific training or an official document, even though you have experience from abroad. For example, if you want to work with food or hospitality in general, you will be required to have your hygieniapassi (Hygiene passport). This tests costs around 40 euros and proves that you know the basics of food safety. If you plan to work with children, you will be asked to prove that you don’t have any criminal record, and might probably also be required a Hygiene pass. Other very common certifications are the alcohol passport, the work safety card, and the security officer passport. If you are planning to apply to a lower skilled job, we highly recommend passing these tests and have these documents as a proof that you are ready to work immediately in these fields in Finland. Lastly, remember that the rule is that you should be able to provide a proof of everything that is on your resume. Very paper counts!
Our participants have often had trouble to understand the role played by TE-office in their job-hunting process. First, to benefit from TE-toimisto’s services, you need to register as an unemployed job seeker at one of their offices or online. If you are an EU citizen, you can do so immediately. This registration can also open rights for you to receive certain benefits, only if you have a Finnish social security number. In TE- toimisto, you will then be assigned a counselor, who will build up with you an integration plan. Depending on your needs and wishes, this integration plan can include education, language courses, work trials or integration courses. Make sure to ask questions and to state clearly what your goals are, to make sure to have a plan that is as relevant for you as possible. We encourage you to not solely rely on TE-toimisto for job hunting, and to very quickly diversify your job hunt by networking, mentorship programs, peer-support groups and other kind of events.
TES (työehtosopimus, or collective agreement)
In Finland, each industry follows a specific collective agreement, that specify the minimum wages for the branch, benefits, leaves and other rules and rights of the worker. To have an idea of your rights and obligations as a worker, read the TES of your industry. You can find them online, most of the time in Finnish. You can ask help from a union to get them translated. In a TES you will most of the time find information on the general rights and obligations of the worker and the employer regarding salaries, holidays, different kind of leaves, types of contracts, benefits.