This is radically different from the Finnish job market,
which is notorious among highly skilled immigrants for
rejecting candidates because of unfamiliar universities or
experience in foreign countries.
about a quarter of American entrepreneurs are immigrants.
Foreign-born workers also bring skills that are
complementary to their American colleagues. Knowledge
transfer leads to new ideas, which often produce
innovation and prosperity.
Looking to the near future, a 2015 Deloitte study
notes that 83% of American millennials are more actively
engaged when they believe their company fosters
an inclusive culture. Millennials will comprise nearly
75% of the workforce in 10 years.
In Finland, loud anti-immigration voices are dominating
political discussion on skilled labor, but we can
step forward into the future by looking at the positive
impact skilled immigrants have on economies.
When I was studying in the U.S., I was repeatedly told
it didn’t matter exactly what I studied if I learned to
think critically, argue my points, manage my time,
and effectively work with diverse people of views different
than my own. This is because a large swathe of
companies in the U.S. tend to hire for potential above
any other quality. Employers can teach and train for a
job if new recruits have a solid foundation. They hire
for who you’ll be in one year, investing in you, rather
than the school you attended or your study subject.
In fact, many companies, like tech giant Apple, don’t
look at educational qualifications at all, but focus on
life experience, skillset, growth mindset, and willingness
to learn and take on new responsibilities. This is
radically different from the Finnish job market, which
is notorious among highly skilled immigrants for rejecting
candidates because of unfamiliar universities
or experience in foreign countries.
An American approach to workplace training and
career development allows employers and employees
to invest in each other’s success. There is plenty for
Finland to learn from U.S. labor practices - market
flexibility, diversity and workplace training are a productive
place to get started!
ALEXANDRA PASTERNAK-JACKSON, CEO at Amcham Finland, is working to make Finland a more open and
international place to do business and to help Finnish companies navigate the US market. She has taught on the
importance of networking as well as held non-profit board positions, both in Finland and the US. Alexandra holds
an MBA from Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences and a BA from the Elliott School of International Affairs
at the George Washington University. She lives in Helsinki with her Texan husband and two kids.
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