Sierra and Bogdan recommend working in Jyväskylä, Finland and Valmet
Valmet, the world's leading technology company that manufactures paper and board machines, is happy to employ international experts. Diversity and multiculturalism are important values for the company. Paula Holmberg, human resources manager of Valmet's group operations, shares her positive experiences and encourages others to recruit international talent. Sierra and Bogdan, who work at Valmet and arrived here from elsewhere, recommend working in Jyväskylä, Finland and Valmet and talk about it.
Paula Holmberg, human resources manager of Valmet's group operations:
“We have long experience in recruiting international talent and overall mobility across national borders. International experts have either already been in Finland or we have recruited directly to the company from abroad. We also have some internal mobility from elsewhere to Finland and vice versa, which is taken care of by the Global Mobility team.
Our general working language is English, and most tasks are handled in English. However, there are some tasks where Finnish language skills are necessary. We have a standardized orientation model, where every new employee is assigned a mentor. We are constantly developing our operating model and, especially for those recruited from abroad, we recognize the need for local support and the importance of supervisors and coworkers in orientation. The orientation is offered in English and we offer support for getting to know the Finnish language and culture.
We have recruited international experts for all kinds of tasks. In particular, the tasks of special experts have recently been emphasized, such as finance, information management and various tasks related to digitalization, where overall there is a shortage of skilled workers in Finland and where skilled workers are more available outside the Finnish market. This trend can be seen especially in those who moved to Finland from abroad for work. The international experts we recruit come from a wide range of different countries, either inside or outside the EU.
In general, we offer those moving to Finland to work and their possible family members support by an external service provider in the residence permit process. In principle, the processes have gone smoothly now after the corona years. This can be seen especially in the turnaround times of the permit processes for special expert positions, which are shorter than before.
We offer around 500 internships every year, and there are also international students among them. We will definitely continue the same practice in the future as well.
Currently, there are approximately 200 of our company's employees with foreign backgrounds in Finland, and the number is constantly increasing.
If employees are recruited from abroad to Finland, it is important to provide additional information about the company and Finland as a country of residence to support the candidate's decision-making. In particular, Finland's four seasons and their special features must be highlighted. It is also good to offer support to support settlement and integration. Settling in a new country brings with it a lot of practical things.
I definitely recommend recruiting international talent to others. Recruiting international experts has a lot of positive impact on the working community, such as in terms of competence, innovation and diversity.”
“I have worked as an IT Assistant at Valmet for a bit over a year and a half. I have a wide variety of duties that include, but are not limited to Contract Lifecycle Management, coordinating IT events, communications, finance tasks, permissions delegating and helping our IT personnel resolve any issues or questions they may have. The duties in my role have been broader than I expected, but I enjoy that. I have learned a lot and am always eager to learn more and expand my skills.
As I was finishing writing my thesis at Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences I was actively looking for job openings and the Valmet ad looking for an IT Assistant caught my eye immediately. I remember calling the contact in the ad who ended up being my current manager and asking him more about the position. After our chat I was a bit nervous, but decided to trust my gut and just give it my best shot. I still remember the call from HR informing me I got the position and how elated I was!
I am originally from Minnesota in the United States. I moved to Finland for love. My husband is Finnish and we met in Jyväskylä when I was visiting some of my relatives who also live here.
I feel I have adapted to Finnish working life very well. Working at an international company such as Valmet has been very enjoyable. I do most of my communications in English since we have such a diverse IT organization. However, I also do have Finnish language skills which I use as well. I have felt encouraged by my colleagues when speaking Finnish. I have a good understanding when people speak or write to me in Finnish, I just need to work on my confidence when responding. That said, I would rather try and make minor mistakes than not try at all.
For me the greatest thing about Finnish working life is the work-life balance. You are not expected to be checking your emails or be available when you have agreed to take time off. I also have appreciated having a reasonably flexible schedule in case of personal appointments for myself or child. Moreover, I think there is a mutual understanding and trust between manager and employee in Finland which makes work life better.
The attitude towards hierarchy is a bit different here. Employees respect the authority of their managers, but it seems like there is more of an open dialogue for problem solving and collaboration between employees and managers. It makes me feel valued when my opinion is considered on a variety of issues. I also enjoy seeing managers hanging out in the coffee room with everyone else having regular conversations. To me the dynamic is refreshing and contributes to a more positive work environment.
I really enjoy living in Jyväskylä. For me the city size is perfect, it is family-friendly and I enjoy being surrounded by nature.
However, I think businesses should make a greater effort to recruit international people. International residents have a lot to offer. Mandatory Finnish fluency requirements eliminate many otherwise excellent candidates. Recruiters should consider the fluency level that is actually required to successfully do the job and remember people can improve their skills on the job.
I would strongly recommend working in Finland and especially at Valmet. Finland is a very peaceful, has a unique culture and is beautiful place to live. At Valmet I enjoy going to work and interacting with my colleagues. I feel valued, respected and a part of a community. My manager is supportive and is very encouraging. I feel I am constantly developing my skills and that is a very motivating feeling for me. Valmet also has made concrete changes and has strict policies that promote sustainability which align with my personal beliefs. I feel proud to be a Valmeteer.
I would say to other international experts that don't be afraid of rejection. It is better to give it your best shot and apply instead of assuming you are not qualified. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Try to remain hopeful even when things aren't going how you had wished. Also, practice Finnish. Small changes like watching Finnish shows, reading Finnish news articles (look up "selkokieli uutiset", for example) and practicing speaking Finnish whenever you can improve your skills overtime. Even if Finnish language is not mandatory in the positions you are applying, it is still a great skill to have while living here and Finns tend to appreciate your effort. You got this!
I am currently working as a Purchase-to-Pay specialist in the Global Financial Operations department and I’m responsible for developing, implementing, and supporting the launching of a new procurement system. Have been working for about 2 years at Valmet, previous position being that of an accountant.
I was born and raised in Romania in a mountainous area of the country (municipality of Câmpulung Moldovenesc) so I can’t say that the cool weather was new to me. I then moved to a bigger city (Cluj Napoca) in the region of Transylvania to continue my studies and work in the field.
I have been looking for job opportunities suitable to my skills on a job website, read the job description from Valmet and did my research. Felt from that moment that I would be a good fit, so I applied and followed the entire recruitment process. From that moment, felt that I understood well with those responsible for recruitment and future managers, which gave me more courage in the following steps.
Finland is well known as one of the world’s best countries to work and live. At my previous workplace I was involved in a process of taking over activities with location in Sweden and since then I liked the first impression of a Nordic country. Functioning infrastructure, safeness, the way people are or beautiful landscapes are only a few reasons why I chose this country.
I adapted along the way and I say well, because most of the aspects suited me. Did not feel that I had to make any radical changes, most of the things went naturally
The way people act is good about the working life. Natural, with feet on the ground and a lot of sense. People know about work and private life separation, are mostly straight to the point, reliable and tolerate silence well.
A slightly different aspect and with a dose of humor would be that of shaking hands. As we all know, in a work environment, shaking hands is the most common way of greeting people. Typically here you only shake hands when you meet for the first time, after that people usually greet only verbally. There is no point in saying how many times my hand was “itchy” in my pocket, when getting here, because I was used to doing it daily with most of the people at work.
I didn’t know much about the area and the city itself before I came here. I find it pleasant as a not too big, not to small type of place where are enough activities and there is no disturbance created in general by a crowded city. Also, nature walks are a stone’s throw away which makes life here even more relaxing.
You can get around easily and I would say in a decent amount of time in the capital, for example, if you need to get to main airport.
I would recommend others to work in Finland and in Valmet for the aspects listed above and more. It is a favorable environment for both personal and professional development, I felt in these two years that I grew on both sides and continue the same path.
I would say to other international talents that nowadays it is much easier with the help of developed technology to get in touch with various employers. I would recommend for international experts be curious, seek for as many sources of information as possible and be patient. To have courage because no change is easy, especially such a big one wherever you go.