Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Head- TalentBoost, Business Finland on HR 2022

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Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Head- TalentBoost, Business Finland on HR 2022
Many Finnish technology companies and start-ups are multinational and multicultural, but now even more employers are investing in diversity and multicultural training.

Ulla is Head of TalentBoost at Business Finland. TalentBoost is a government program, which aims at attracting international talents to Finland, helps companies to recruit international talents, and coordinates the national and regional talent attraction and retention services.

She gained experience in international business, multinational teams, and living and working abroad during her 24 years at KONE. She then joined the Finnish Innovation Funding Agency Tekes as Executive Director of Customer process and later Marketing and Communications.

She also worked two years at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as Head of Internationalization services and SME support. 

Her passion is making Finland and Finnish companies more successful in global markets. International talents are an important contributor to Finland’s ecosystem.

Q- How do you foresee the talent priorities in 2022, particularly from a human resource and recruitment perspective?

Finland has a vibrant innovation ecosystem, a booming start-up scene, and one of the leading ICT and gaming industries in the world. During the pandemic, many companies have seen a big demand for digital services and automated solutions. Also, investments in sustainable solutions, smart cities, and cleantech industries are increasing.

This means there is potential for the high demand for ICT and technology specialists. Today, custom software and hardware are key to every industry and there are also numerous career opportunities in this space, be it in innovative start-ups or large international companies.

The telecommunications sector is growing rapidly in 5G adaptation and in 6G development. Currently, top Finnish companies are seeking “System on Chips” talents with the campaign targeted to specific expert groups including in India.

Q- How to find and manage talent in a changing landscape?

Due to the pandemic, events and recruitment campaigns are now mainly in digital format. This brings speed and flexibility for finding and recruiting global experts. For example, the ‘Future is made in Finland’ campaign attracted global talents in health tech, digitalization, and other high-growth sectors to study and work in Finland. Approximately 7000 talents registered in the virtual events of the campaign in October and November.

In addition to recruitment campaigns, Finland offers a digital portal www.jobsinfinland.fi for foreign talents. That is a tool for experts to find English-speaking jobs in Finland. Networking and social media also play an important role for people seeking new opportunities and companies also utilise these platforms to build their employer brands. For anybody interested in career opportunities or wish to follow news from Finland they can start following the #FinlandWorks LinkedIn page.

Q- How do you see the future of work and what are the key drivers of this change?

Many Finnish technology companies and start-ups are multinational and multicultural, but now even more employers are investing in diversity and multicultural training. English is already a common working language in technology companies and companies that do international business. Global talents are welcome to come and build careers in Finland and diversity is encouraged in many organisations.

During the pandemic, remote working became the norm and now most companies in Finland implement hybrid work practices, which allows teams and individuals the flexibility to decide where they would like to work. Flexibility also allows employees to enjoy a better work-life balance and have more time for their families and hobbies.

Learning on the job is now a necessity for everybody to keep up with the changes therefore Finnish employers generally encourage and invest in professional development. Areas of development are primarily related to technology, but there also emphasise soft skills such as teamwork and communications. Rapid changes in working life offer many possibilities to tailor career paths according to personal interests and values.

Q- What are the key trends that will affect employee experience and how to address them in the coming year?

Finnish working culture allows people to be self-driven and take responsibility for their tasks and schedules. Most companies have adopted hybrid-work models, where certain tasks are done face-to-face and others done remotely. The present situation is unpredictable and changes can happen at short notice. So, flexibility and resilience is needed.

Overall, the Finnish working life has practices that offer good work-life balance and equal opportunities for all. The convenient working time allows time for family or free-time activities. Finnish companies also invest and put a lot of emphasise on the well-being of their employees.

Q- Any concluding remarks on Finland as an attractive destination for professionals and students?

Finland is a safe and equal welfare state with pure nature and plenty of attractive study and work opportunities. English is a common language in technology companies and in business. Indian talents have a reputation of being very smart and hardworking and are welcome to come and build their careers in Finland.

Thank You, Ulla!

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