Thesis: SME employers’ views on hiring foreigners

Angela Werner’s recent Bachelor’s Thesis explored the views of SMEs in the Helsinki region on hiring foreign employees.

At FRS, we are happy to work with students researching international recruitment. FRS’s Petri Lautjärvi helped to develop the topic and gave an interview to Laurea University of Applied Sciences student Angela Werner’s recently published Bachelor’s Thesis “How can immigrant capabilities be improved to increase their employment opportunities at small and medium businesses in Helsinki?”

The thesis aimed to understand the willingness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Helsinki region to hire foreign employees. The research was conducted via online literature reviews, interviews, and a questionnaire.

Companies interested in hiring foreigners

According to the questionnaire of the thesis, companies have a rather positive attitude towards hiring foreigners. Nearly half of the respondents were very likely to hire foreigners and the second largest group was somewhat likely.

However, the respondents felt that there are challenges in hiring foreigners. Several respondents answered that the immigration process is too complicated, or that hiring foreign workers is too much work, too much responsibility, or costs too much time and money.

In addition, many respondents mentioned that employers are concerned that a foreign employee may not stay in the company for long but wants to return to their home country. Some were also concerned about possible communication problems caused by cultural differences.

Challenges can be solved

Fortunately, the complexity of the immigration process, the possible problems caused by cultural differences, and the risk of an employee returning to their home country can be solved with the help of relocation services. With the help of an experienced relocation expert, immigration, settling in, and adapting to a new culture is faster and more pleasant, and the risk of an employee leaving early is reduced.

Some of the participants in the study also considered the lack of Finnish language skills of foreign employees to be a problem. On the other hand, the thesis refers to research that shows that many companies are willing to support employee language training. Employers should also consider whether proficiency in the Finnish language really is necessary – by giving up unnecessary language proficiency requirements, the company improves its chances of finding the most suitable experts. Read more: International experts and the Finnish language.

Hiring foreigners benefits companies

According to the interviewees, hiring foreigners is beneficial for companies interested in international growth and networking abroad, as it can help to better understand the markets and cultures of different target countries.

According to the survey and interviews, foreign employees also bring the team new perspectives and a variety of approaches to problem-solving. In the questionnaire, respondents also selected the following benefits: “a chance for other employees to learn new skills, ways of behaviour, and values”, and “an enriched team with rare competencies”. In addition, international recruitment expands the chances of finding the best employees when the search is not limited to just one country.


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