Whether international talents stay also depends on whether their spouses and family enjoy it here


Talent Boost Spouse Event gathered auditorium full of people interested in the role and services of the international talents’ spouses to Kampusareena, TUT on Thursday 22 March, 2018.

The Talent Boost Spouse event is part of the Finnish Government’s programme titled 'Talent Boost - International talents boosting growth’. The ‘Hidden Gems’ project launched by the International HR Services at Tampere3 in March is also part of the programme. The project promotes the integration of international researchers and their families in Finnish society. The goal is to work together with local SMEs to identify potential career opportunities for international researchers’ spouses in the Tampere region. The Hidden Gems project is about bringing together an extensive selection of services to support the growth and internationalization of local SMEs. The project is conducted in close collaboration with Business Tampere and New Factory to strengthen the role of employers and utilize the competencies of international experts in the development and productization of the services.

Riku Ranta and Tuomas Milonoff from Madventures started the event in their energetic way. They told about the international encounters they had had when travelling around the world. Rantala’s and Milonoff’s Madventures has also been involved in starting a social network called Startup Refugees, whose mission is to expose the talent that the refugees coming into Finland have, help them find jobs, study places or found companies of their own in Finland. According to Rantala’s and Milonoff’s experiences, moving to another culture environment is like bungee jumping headfirst from the roof of a tall building with a self-made rope: the experience is awesome once you dare to do it. The biggest hinders are inside of your heads.

Laura Lindeman from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment talked about Talent Boost programme and its goals. According to Lindeman, Finnish economy cannot grow without international talents. Talent Boost programme aims at creating Finland as attractive destination for international talents to move in on one hand, and making Finland into a country that they do wish to live and stay with their families on the other.

Daniel Cosby from M-files shared his experiences in finding a job in Finland and integrating into the Finnish society. Cosby had noticed that it’s often not the big, obvious things like weather or language that make the difference, but the small details, like the lack of small, polite phrases that you are used to, or the lack of feedback at work, positive or negative, that you have grown into expecting. Cosby believed that the opportunities lie in the small details – when you get those right, the employee feels s/he and his/her work matters and is respected.

Humeyra Caglayan and Hasan Yasin Öztürk and their son Engin moved to Tampere last summer, and shared their experiences on moving after mother’s work as researcher. They had many opportunities, but chose Finland because of the excellent education system, Finnish Nature and the fact that their emails got fast and personified reply from Tampere. Caglayan and Öztürk have been very happy about their decision to move to Finland, but they missed “a Finnish survival pack” where most common phrases and symbols would have been explained. Also, they could have had better support services for accompanying spouse, especially help in finding a job in Tampere. The family has found their place professionally and in their private life, and they are currently searching for a house in Tampere region.

Melanie Dower from Supercell told about her job in helping the spouses of their international employees to find their place in Finland. Melanie originally came to Finland with her husband finding a job gaming industry, so she knows what it’s like to move in another culture as an accompanying spouse. In her job, Dower arranges to meet the spouses of their incoming international employees as early as at the job interview stage. She then helps the spouses in preparing to move in Finland, when they arrive, and helps them settle in. Supercell has noticed that if they want to get international top talents to move in Finland and stay here, they also have to help their family members settle in. Dower said that she has done her job well when the spouses have found their way in Finland, whether it’s a job, volunteer work, entrepreneurship or something else, and when they no longer need Dower’s support.

The afternoon talks part ended by a panel discussion moderated by Mark Curcher. Participants were Amin Bakht (Troll VFX), Melanie Dower (Supercell), Hanna Rinne (Tampere3), and Minna Vainikka. In her Master’s thesis, Vainikka had studied spouses’ experiences when they moved to Finland because of their spouses jobs. Vainikka’s research confirmed what had already came up in talks earlier: small details matter, finding a job is very important (if the spouse has a career), the employers should also take into account the spouse of the talent they are recruiting when the talent moves to Finland from abroad. Dower added that we shouldn’t forget that moving away from Finland is also part of international mobility. She also reminded that the attitude of the newcomer also makes a big difference on the experiences that they have. However, more support is needed, especially in the beginning in forming professional and social networks and in brushing the job-hunting skills and adjusting them into Finnish ways. Hanna Rinne told that Tampere3 project also aims at taking into account the accompanying spouses of the international talents recruited. One of the ways to tackle it is Hidden Gems project of the international HR services at Tampere 3 universities, as well as its ‘sister project’ International Business Powered by Talents run by Business Tampere, New Factoryn and the Baltic Sea Institute.

Read also:
International talents boost growth – Talent Boost Spouse event on 22 March
Talent Boost -project (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment)

Text: Jonna Rinne and Veera Reko
Photos: Laura Penttinen