Working in Finland

Starting a job in a new country may be challenging and raises many questions. How am I expected to behave in the workplace? What are my rights and responsibilities? Who can I contact in different situations? How will I adjust to the work community?

The Working in Finland guide provides information about Finnish working life. The guide is available in 13 languages, and it covers some of the most common topics, such as searching for work, the Finnish work culture, the orientation process, and the role of a supervisor, as well as employee health and well-being at work. The guide also includes links to other useful sources of information.

Working in Finland – Information for immigrants in 13 languages | Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (

Career planning

Career planning is part of your studies. You plan your future employment opportunities and possible further studies together with your personal coach or guidance counsellor. Your goals affect the choices you make, the study paths you choose and the workplace where you acquire the missing competence.

During your studies, you will:

  • improve your job search skills
  • receive encouragement and guidance in applying for jobs
  • get information about various employment opportunities and services that support employment
  • learn to demonstrate your skills and competence
  • be presented with further study opportunities
  • visit higher education institutions
  • receive more information about continuing education opportunities, such as vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications

Study and career planning skills are a mandatory part of the studies for all vocational upper secondary students. Students are encouraged to participate in various events organised at Riveria, to receive information and tips on employment and further studies.

Finnish work culture

Different countries have different ways of working. In Finland, it is important to arrive at work on time. The work starts and ends exactly as agreed. Men and women do all kinds of work in Finland. Both men and women can work in leading positions. All employees must respect each other.

In Finland, employees must show initiative. Showing initiative means, for example, that after finishing one task, you move on to the next task independently. If you do not know what to do, ask for advice. Employees are also trusted to be reliable. The work is not always monitored. The work must be completed in the agreed upon time and manner.

In the workplace, interaction is usually direct and brief. If you do not understand the instructions, ask for clarification. If you have been given too little time to complete a task, let your supervisor know. If you need help with your work, ask for it directly from your supervisor or other employees.

Additional information: Working in Finland – Information for immigrants in 13 languages | Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (

Working life terminology in plain language

There are many guides with comprehensive working life vocabularies translated into different languages or plain Finnish. Below you will find links to different guides.

Here is some important study-related terminology:

On-the-job learning (also known as practical training)
On-the-job learning means working at a workplace to acquire missing competence that is required by the profession you are studying. Before starting on-the-job learning, a training agreement must be drawn up in connection with a plan detailing the things you must learn at the workplace. Competence is assessed during a demonstration. Sometimes the on-the-job learning period is also called the training agreement period.

Training agreement
When you are acquiring missing competence at a workplace, a written agreement must be drawn up. This agreement is called a training agreement. The agreement stipulates that you will receive practical training at the workplace without pay. Sometimes the training agreement period is called the on-the-job learning period.

During a demonstration, you demonstrate your acquired competence in the skills and tasks that you have practised at the workplace. Competence is demonstrated through practical tasks.

Flexible apprenticeship contract
You can use a flexible apprenticeship contract to acquire missing competence at a workplace. Unlike a regular apprenticeship contract, a flexible apprenticeship contract allows you to combine studies and working life. You will also get paid during the contract period. After the contract period ends, you will continue your studies at the school. You can alternate between training agreement and flexible apprenticeship contract periods. (You can agree a flexible apprenticeship contract if you have a residence permit based on your studies.)

Apprenticeship contract
You can acquire skills and competence related to your qualification by working at a workplace and studying at school. You have an employment contract, and you get paid for the work. If you needed a residence permit when moving to Finland, you will also need a work permit to acquire an apprenticeship contract.

Employment contract
When you get a job, you sign an employment contract with the employer. The employment contract includes the working hours, salary, duration of employment, holiday entitlement and job description. If you are not given an employment contract when you start work, ask for it. As an employee, you have the right to an employment contract.

Additional information:

Selkokeskus – suomeksi » Työelämäsanastoa selkokielellä
Uraohjauksen sanasto selkeällä suomen kielellä by Keski-Uudenmaan koulutuskuntayhtymä Keuda – Issuu
Työelämän sanastoa (
Working in Finland – Information for immigrants in 13 languages | Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (
Erilaisuus sallittu (
Fair play at work (