The employability of highly educated foreigners in Finland: experiences of the foreign degree students of the Aalto University School of Business
School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractNational labour markets are becoming increasingly diverse in cultural terms. As such, the employment of foreigners is a current and interesting topic. However, this increasing diversity has received limited interest within certain areas of research. For instance, in the field of International Human Resource Management, the fact that recruiting employees even within the home country labour markets includes an international aspect has remained relatively unrecognised. Similarly, in the literature covering employability the way in which employment has been examined has largely been general in nature, reflecting a traditional domestic setting. In relation to the Finnish context, there has been research concerning the employment of immigrants. However, the focus in these studies has been on the largest immigrant groups, and there have been few studies concerning the employment of foreigners with higher education. As a result it has remained unclear whether the situation of highly educated foreigners concerning job search in Finland resembles that of immigrants in general. This study aims to fill the gaps found in the literature by shedding light on the experiences of highly educated foreigners regarding finding initial employment in Finland. The study was conducted by using a mixed-methods approach, utilising both quantitative and qualitative research methods. First, a web-based survey was conducted by targeting the 190 foreign Master's Degree students of the Aalto University School of Business. A total of 67 responses were obtained. The survey was followed by conducting six semi-structured interviews with six respondents of the survey. The quantitative data of the study was analysed mainly through descriptive statistics and the comparison of the obtained results to the findings of previous studies. The qualitative data was analysed by classifying the transcribed interview data, investigating the connections between different classes, and comparing the findings with existing literature. The results of this study indicate that highly educated foreigners have different experiences in finding initial employment in Finland, but there are certain common factors that influence whether or not job search is participated in, how this is done, and what the outcomes of the search are. This study actually provides a framework of the process of employment acquisition in this specific context and indentifies the factors influencing the process. The results also indicate at least in terms of the highly educated foreigners studying in the Aalto University School of Business that they participate to a large extent in job search and the shares of those who have been successful and those who have not yet been successful seem to be quite even. In addition, they largely seem to consider being in a disadvantageous position in job search, in comparison to Finns. Overall, the findings do suggest that highly educated foreigners face challenges in the Finnish labour markets and their employability is not necessarily that high, at least in relation to the natives.
employability, employment, job search