A critical factor for finding employment and settling in Finland as an international student is writing your master’s thesis for a company. A student from outside the EU who writes their thesis for a company is four times more likely to get a job that matches their education than a student who writes their thesis outside the private sector. This result was revealed by the Graduate Survey conducted by the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK.
“If an international student with an average amount of work experience in their field does their master’s thesis specifically for the private sector, the probability of finding high-quality employment at the time of graduation is 70 percent. High-quality employment means a full-time job that closely matches their education. If the student does their master’s thesis somewhere else besides the private sector, the probability of finding an equivalent job is only 16 percent,” says TEK’s Analyst Arttu Piri.
According to the statistics of the Finnish National Agency for Education, only about 30 percent of non-Finnish graduate engineers in the field of ICT have found jobs as specialists in Finland within three years of their graduation. Up to 50 percent had left Finland entirely within this period.
“These are grim statistics. The talent shortage has not gone anywhere. As the age groups get smaller, we need concrete actions to make it easier for people who come here to study to find jobs specifically in Finland. The number of Finnish-born graduates with an academic degree in technology is simply not enough to meet the needs of the labour market,” says CEO of TEK Jari Jokinen.
Ahead of the game despite nationality
The survey shows that nationality is less significant than one might think when it comes to the employment of tech students. Both Finnish and international students found jobs easily if they had written their master’s thesis for a company. For Finnish students, the probability of finding a good job was 86 percent if they had written their thesis in collaboration with the private sector and 34 percent if they did their thesis elsewhere.
“The analysis reveals how crucial it is for the employment of students pursuing a master's degree in technology or architecture to engage with the private sector even before they graduate. Nationality does play a role, as does work experience in one's field, but cooperation with the private sector is in a class of its own when it comes to factors influencing high-quality employment. Looking at our talent shortage, it’s a problem that, compared to Finns, so few students of foreign background are able to write their master’s theses for a company. But once the problem has been pinpointed, it’s easier to find solutions,” says Piri.
TEK Graduate Survey is a feedback survey conducted by TEK and several universities. The extensive survey examines the situation of academic engineers and architects at the time of graduation. The survey receives responses from about 2 000 students every year.