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Survey: One in three Finnish students will seek work abroad

As many as one in three Finnish university students plans to search for work overseas if they are unsuccessful job hunting at home, according to Eurostudent research released on Tuesday. The findings have Education Ministry officials concerned about a possible brain drain.

Kannuksen eläinlääketieteen lukion opiskelijat tekevät terveystarkastuksen kultakilpikonnalle.
Image: Juha Kemppainen / Yle

Results of an EU-funded research programme have Finnish education officials concerned about a possible brain drain if many students opt to look for work abroad.

Released on Tuesday, the results of a Eurostudent study of Finnish students indicate that up to one-third of higher education students plan to look for jobs overseas if they can’t find work at home.

Ministry of Education Counsellor Johanna Moisio said the prospect of a possible brain drain is alarming.

"Alarm bells should be ringing. Of course people will not stay here waiting for a suitable job opening. Trained people may go abroad," Moisio commented.

Many students struggle financially

The study showed that one-fifth of university students experience difficulty stretching money, while one in five full time students goes to work regularly. A majority, two out of three, said they would not be able to study without a job.

Moisio said admitted that these were large numbers, but pointed out that one in six students has at least one child. Students with families spend twice as much as their peers who don’t have children.

Some 74 percent of all working students said they were holding down jobs specifically to finance their living expenses. Moisio said that it was especially worrying that so many students have trouble making ends meet.

"If a majority of time is spent working, then it means that not everyone is able to study exclusively with the help of study grants," she observed.

Some programmes no longer free

The research results also indicate that more than half of students in certain fields have taken additional prep courses in order to excel in school. The study showed that as many as 77 percent of law students have taken the courses.

"It’s well known that extra study courses are popular in certain fields. But it is worrying that so many have used them," Moisio added.

Back in spring 2016, the Education and Culture Ministry and Statistics Finland sent the Eurostudent survey to 24,000 undergraduates in Finland. Around 7,000 respondents participated.

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