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Relocated foreign executives happy with services in Finland

A Finnish firm specializing in international recruiting has carried out a poll of 53 foreign executives and experts who have relocated to Finland to work, asking for their feedback on the level of service they received from Finland’s various public authorities. The survey also asked them to assess their overall contentment with life in Finland.

Riikka Pennanen ja Jenni Frilander.
The survey’s top-tier respondents had nothing but praise for Finland’s bureaucracy, customer service and friendly neighbours. Image: Sanna Pirkkalainen / Yle

Finland Relocation Services, a private company providing work-related relocation services for a fee, has carried out a survey assessing the satisfaction of 53 highly-educated foreign experts and executives who have relocated to Finland. Although the results are not statistically significant, they do give an indication of how high-level workers representing a privileged segment of society perceive their new host country.

Survey respondents were quick to recognize the traditionally-recognized merits of their new home land: general safety and security, a high level of trust among individuals, clean air and an efficient public transport system.

Finland was also praised by the executive and expert respondents as a country in which it is easy to deal with the public authorities. They said it is easy to get by using English in almost every situation in Finland and customer service representatives are pleasant.

“Finland has clear and simple rules when it comes to administration and the people are friendly and helpful,” said one of the survey respondents. Over 70 percent of the survey respondents said dealing with public authorities in Finland was easy or very easy.

“The best thing about Finland is its acceptance of foreigners. I haven’t felt like an outsider here,” said another.

It goes without saying that some of these results might have been quite different had the survey also been distributed to Finland’s other foreign workers, employed in less prominent low-wage positions.

High prices, taxes and an incomprehensible language

Some criticism was included, however, namely Finland’s high standard of living and relatively high taxation. On the other hand, the respondents were very appreciative of Finland’s public services.

“The most unfortunate thing about Finland has been the low level of expendable income and high taxes, although I am aware that the taxes support excellent public services,” said one.

Many respondents found Finnish a very difficult language to learn, for several reasons. The unique language is tricky to begin with, but a lack of Finnish language courses and the fact that most Finns immediately begin to speak English with foreigners haven’t helped.

Another critique from the illuminated class is that they feel even more official documents and signage should be translated into English.

Survey results indicate that few of the relocated foreigners found Finnish alcohol use even worth mentioning.

“People just want to get drunk, that’s all. Finns aren’t in the practice of going out for just a few to the pub. I have had to physically carry people home,” answered one Brit.

One respondent even chose to see the notoriously withdrawn nature of the Finns in a new light, adding, “I like the Finnish way of thinking and their idea of personal space.”

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