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All Points North #39: Breaking into the Finnish job market with Taina Susiluoto and Eve Kyntäjä

Why it is so hard for foreigners to find jobs in Finland when many business sectors need workers desperately? Our podcast guests say a change in attitude is due.

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The unemployment rate among foreign-language groups in Helsinki is double (24 percent) that of the local population (11 percent), yet employers in many sectors frequently complain of a lack of qualified job applicants. APN discussed the mismatch with private sector lobby group EK's Taina Susiluoto and Eve Kyntäjä, a specialist in immigration and integration issues with SAK, the country's largest union confederation.

The main reason many potential employers say they are not hiring foreigners is a lack of Finnish or Swedish skills, but our conversation considered whether there might be other factors behind their reluctance to hire non-Finns. SAK's Eve Kyntäjä said many companies worry that newcomers do not understand Finnish workplace norms, while employer representative Taina Susiluoto said one big problem is that foreign-earned qualifications aren't seen as valid in Finland - a worrying trend that must be rectified.

Kyntäjä said that immigrants in Finland are most likely to hold jobs in the service and construction sectors. But she noted that these are also the industries where migrants who don't know their rights are more exposed to employers offering sub-par employment contracts or lower wages than their Finnish counterparts.

We also heard from Trevor Baylis and Raghunath Koduvayur, two migrants with completely different experiences in the Finnish job market. Baylis,who's been in Finland for nine years, recounted how he worked on chained "work practice" gigs before landing a position with a salary that was lower than his colleagues', something the SAK's Kyntäjä said is illegal. Koduvayur meanwhile, has lived in Finland for 11 years. He said he has never had a shortage of opportunities and has thrived in the system by networking, being proactive and promoting his personal brand.

Migrants in Finland can find out more about their rights (and responsibilities) as workers from the SAK's online employee rights advisory service (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or by calling 0800 414 004 for information in English.

International House Helsinki also provides information for newcomers in the Helsinki region. Visit them online (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to find out more about their services.

Finns in Britain, Darude and daylight saving time top the week's news

The most popular stories this week were about Brexit, song contests and daylight saving. Readers were drawn to Yle News' Egan Richardson's report from the UK on how Brexit is affecting some of the roughly 20 thousand Finnish citizens living in Britain. The report found that Finns, like their 3 million European counterparts in the country, are dealing with a quite different atmosphere to the one many of them first experienced when they relocated.

Our second most-read post was about the Finnish electronic music star Darude being chosen to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv next May. The DJ musician is best known for his trance instrumental earworm "Sandstorm," which was released nearly 20 years ago.

And finally, readers lit up over our story on daylight saving policy. Last Friday a committee of the Finnish government said it supports scrapping seasonal daylight saving for permanent standard time. Citing public health and other benefits, the government said that it supported adopting the permanent use of "winter" rather than "summer time". But Finland cannot decide to abolish daylight savings time on its own, as any change on the matter requires a unanimous decision at the EU level.

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The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun)and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

This week's podcast episode was presented by Denise Wall and Mark Odom, with additional reporting by Denise. Our producer was Pamela Kaskinen and this week's sound engineer was Laura Koso, who is also responsible for the show's sound design.