FAQs by recently graduated people

TEK`s answers to questions asked by young members

This page contains answers by TEK’s experts to frequently asked questions on

Membership

Why does the TEK membership fee start in full immediately after graduation, and not gradually?

The TEK membership fee is fairly affordable even for a recent graduate. The membership fee is EUR 31.50 per month, including the unemployment fund fee. Taking tax deductions into account, the remaining fee amounts to approximately EUR 15.00 per month. TEK wants to align its membership fee discounts to members who are unemployed or on parental leave. If you graduate and remain unemployed, your membership fee will only be EUR 150.00 per year (including the unemployment fund fee).

TEK does not save membership fees into a reserve fund. Lately, when we had to increase the unemployment fund fee, we also used our property to avoid increasing the membership fee. If the membership fee would have increased gradually, other members would have to pay higher fees.

For approximately 30 euros a month, you get a lot of services: unemployment fund membership, legal expenses and liability insurance, legal services, career services, salary counselling, two professional magazines published by Talentum, the TEK magazine, training and events, unemployment insurance, social influence, the shop steward system at workplaces and the basic security afforded by collective agreements.

How does TEK support the recently Graduated?

In addition to the complete set of full member services, TEK offers several services for recently graduated people.

A recently graduated person is often confused by matters related to job seeking and career. TEK career services offer tailored webinars for example on searching a job in social media or abroad. The webinar recordings can be viewed any time on the TEK website.

Other useful services are job interview simulators in three languages and the CV clinic. The GoinGlobal service contains valuable, country-specific information on job search abroad. Our career coaches also offer personal career advice.  TEKrekry’s LinkedIn group contains the latest vacancies in the technology sector.

Our legal services can help when you negotiate the terms of employment with the employer. Have employment contract drafts reviewed by a TEK lawyer. This will avoid many future regrets.

You can turn to our lawyers for advice whenever you have doubts about something related to an employment relationship. If you need support for salary negotiation, contact our salary advisors. They have several years of experience and access to carefully researched data on salaries in the technology sector both in Finland and abroad. The Salary Surveyor application and TEK’s salary recommendations can also help you to estimate an appropriate salary level.

If you are unemployed, notify us about it as soon as possible. You will receive a significant discount on the membership fee, and if you meet the employment criteria, you will receive earnings-related unemployment benefits from the IAET unemployment fund. You should also use the services of our career coaches when searching for a job. See instructions for unemployed members here.

TEK also arranges events and training that support the development of your professional competence. You can also select two professional magazines published by Talentum, either on paper or as a digital version. The magazines can be selected in the membership registry.

Is TEK membership sensible for an Entrepreneur?

TEK membership brings several benefits to small business owners and part-time entrepreneurs.  Approximately 8% of our members are entrepreneurs and even more are part-time entrepreneurs. Nearly a third of our members are interested in entrepreneurship in some form. As an entrepreneur member, you can receive legal advice on employment relationships from the perspective of your employer role. In addition, you have free access to Fondia’s Virtual Lawyer service, which contains, for example, contract templates and other legal information for entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurs’ Service Package by TEK is a data repository for technology entrepreneurs and contains information related to establishing a company, funding, personnel and legal matters. TEK’s legal expenses and liability insurance is also valid for sole proprietors, but the conditions differ from those offered for employee members.

Networking is often of paramount importance to sole proprietors and part-time entrepreneurs. TEK Entrepreneurs’ Club is a forum for networking and training for the entrepreneur members and persons interested in entrepreneurship opportunities. The club arranges events and offers other benefits for its members. The club has a Facebook and LinkedIn group and a Twitter account.

If you are about to become an entrepreneur, contact TEK to verify your situation before you terminate your unemployment fund membership. Our lawyers can also advise you on matters related to unemployment security.

Salary development

How can increase my salary closer to the TEK recommendation in a very rigid organisation?

TEK provides three types of salary recommendations: initial salary recommendation, trainee salary recommendation and thesis employment salary recommendation.

For more information, visit here

For example, you can consider the initial salary recommendation simply a recommendation – a good starting point in the negotiations. However, the recommendation is not a minimum salary or one that is automatically earned by recent graduates. The salary level depends on the task and its requirements, and earlier work experience. These are important factors with which you can justify your salary request, in addition to your personal performance.

The Salary Surveyor application contains information on the average salary levels of TEK members.

I work in the IT sector, and want to know more about salary issues. How can I estimate how much salary I can request and whether I should try to get a raise. What is a typical salary development for a M.Sc. (Tech.) after 5 years of graduation?

TEK’s Salary Surveyor offers you detailed information about the salary level. See the Salary Surveyor for average salaries by e.g. status at work, line of business and educational programme. The information can help you assess your own salary level or salary request.

A raise is a good topic to take up when transferring to a new workplace, when tasks change or during a performance review. You can of course ask your supervisor for a separate salary negotiation, if necessary for example in situation where you feel your salary lags behind. 

According to the TEK labour market survey in 2013, the average monthly salary of a freshly graduated M.Sc. (Tech.) was EUR 3,100. After 5 years from graduation, the average salary was slightly below EUR 4,000.

What is an acceptable salary?

An acceptable salary is one you feel satisfied with. It is difficult to specify an exact amount. TEK’s recommendation for an initial salary (EUR 3,560 per month) is a good starting point for a salary request. The salary recommendation is intended for expert positions that correspond to the education of the new graduate who does not yet have a lot of work experience in his/her sector. The recommendation is set slightly above the actual average salary, since the objective of TEK is to promote the salary development of its members. For example, the 2014 labour market survey indicated that the median salary of a recently graduated M.Sc. (Tech.) was EUR 3,250/month, while the average salary was EUR 3,361/month.

How many recently graduated members actually earn a salary that corresponds to the TEK salary recommendations?

As stated above, the salary recommendation is set slightly above the actual average salary, since the objective of TEK is to promote the salary development of its members. The salary recommendation is in the upper quartile, i.e. one in four new graduates earn a higher salary and three out of four earn a lower salary. In the 2014 labour market survey, the median salary of a new graduate was EUR 3,250/month.

Full-time employment and part-time entrepreneurship – which unemployment fund should I belong to?

If salaried employment is your primary source of income, the IAET unemployment fund is the one you should belong to. However, if you are engaged in entrepreneurial activities along with your salaried employment or you work in a company owned by your family, contact your unemployment fund to verify that you are a member of a correct fund. A part-time entrepreneur faced with unemployment might be entitle to receive a daily benefit. However, income earned from the business activities reduces the amount of the daily benefit.

To demonstrate that your entrepreneurial activities do not pose an obstacle to receiving a salaried job, you must also be able to prove that your entrepreneurial activities have occurred while you still were a salaried employee. Since all cases are resolved individually, always verify from your own unemployment fund how your particular situation is interpreted from the perspective of unemployment security. For more information, see the TEK online magazine.

Job seeking skills

The company for which I wrote my thesis could not hire me. How can I get my first job after graduation?

This is a situation that calls for a bold job search. First, create a list of employers that interest you. Your thesis might help you in the job search. Are there any employers for whom it would be easy to sell your competence? Do these employers have any open vacancies?

If not, you can always consider phoning them directly. The most active job seekers get rewarded in the present tough economic situation.

I am studying chemical engineering, and will graduate next summer. I am interested in working abroad. Where can I get information on open vacancies, and can TEK give me advise on the application/selection process?

When engaging in an international job search, update your English CV and application letter to top shape. You can always ask for advice from TEK career services. Also our website contains information on job seeking abroad. For example, the GoinGlobal site contains useful tips.

I am a post-doc researcher aspiring to get a position in the industry – what characteristics should I advertise to potential employers?

When transferring from a university researcher to a position in the private sector, it is important to tailor the CV and application to the needs of the company. An academic CV often contains the entire work history and competence of the applicant, and might be several pages long. When transferring to the private sector, you must condense your work experience to a maximum of two pages.

Companies appreciate candidates who can present the results and achievements of their work (and how they benefit the organisation in question). 

I started in my first “real” job this summer, but certain incidents have made me realise that a even a permanent job is nothing but “an employment relationship in force until further notice”. Should I and how can I prepare for a job search that might be necessary after a few years?

When it comes to a job search, you should always be slightly alert and keep your eyes open. You never know when and where a new career opportunity might arise. The best way to be prepared is to keep your job search documents and skills up to date. The most important document is your CV. Now is the perfect time to activate your networks and start your search for potential employers. LinkedIn is a very good tool for networking during your career.

I have completed my doctoral degree, now what?

After competing a doctoral degree, it is always good to consider your career options both in the academic world and outside it. TEK’s career services can offer you advice for mapping out your career options. The career follow-up survey in the Aarresaari network produced data that might also be useful in determining what kind of career options are available for doctors today.

How can I brand myself and my competence?

Branding your competence is often associated with being able to stand out from the crowd. A job search is fundamentally about selling and marketing your competence. Therefore, it is important to know your special strengths and how to present them in a job search. Watch the career webinar recording “Brändää itsesi asiantuntijana” (Brand yourself as an expert, in Finnish), and think of the ways you can brand yourself.

Do you have any hints for finding hidden jobs?

Social media and networks are important when searching for hidden jobs. Also visit trade shows, training events, recruitment events and talk to your friends and associates. Make a list of employers that interest you and whom you can call to market yourself. Follow the growing sectors and less known companies, since they usually have a high employee turnover rate.

Career planning

Is work fun only in fairytales? Many older career-oriented persons emphasise long employment relationships and updating your CV from time to time. But if work is not fun, isn’t it a good enough reason to change jobs? How should I express this in my CV?

Working life should be satisfying. Work is “fun” when it is meaningful, appropriately challenging and brings success. If you are not motivated in your work, try viewing your well-being at work from several perspectives. 

Work has become increasingly fragmented. The basic assumption of having a long continuous career in a single organisation is no longer valid. “Gaps” are a natural part of life, and you should not try to hide them in your CV. Instead of a gapless CV, it much more important to demonstrate your competence and motivation when searching for a job. You can state your desire to change tasks honestly and justify it openly.

How can I determine my career options? What is the most meaningful option? Is there a way to test the different options?

Career planning is based on good self-knowledge and awareness of your strengths. Recognise your values, strengths and sources of motivation. To help you discover these, TEK offers a range of online tools, but you can also contact a TEK career coach if you wish to discuss these with another person. When considering your career options, make a list of tasks and organisations that interest you, gather information about them and interview people who work in the field. Select the best options and think what actions you can take immediately. Remember to keep in mind both your short-term and long-term career goals and job search objectives.

How can I discover my passion in working life? How can I know what direction to take, as my current degree programme does not seem very interesting yet?

Passion is found through experimentation. If your studies do not inspire you much, carry out systematic tests to determine what things inspire you and enable you to experience a ‘flow state’ – perhaps hobbies or other activities? One way is to interview people who are enthusiastic about something or seek role models As soon as you find a meaningful activity, seize the opportunity and test your limits. A common trait in passionate people is an active attitude towards life. Passion and enthusiasm are a lifestyle.

How can I start creating a career in a situation where I cannot find tasks that correspond to my education or I am not selected, since I do not have the required work experience? As I have recently graduated, is it sensible to pursue another degree or should I continue my job search?

In such a situation, you should find out whether you need to revise your job search skills, whether your job search goals are realistic and what your attitude is like. Careers are no longer as predictable as they once were. The industry, services and technology keep changing. If your unemployment lasts for a long time, remember to keep your competence up-to-date. Before you start studying for another degree, analyse your competence and see how you can complement it. For tips on education, click here.

I have no experience, and without it, I cannot get the job I want. What should I do?

In addition to experience, recruiters are interested in the competence and personality of the applicant. Other important things are enthusiasm and a positive attitude toward one’s activities. According to the results of a recruitment study by Skyhood, motivation is the most significant factor in a recruitment decision. (Source: Skyhood.com 2014, 142 companies.) In addition, employers appreciate interpersonal skills, creativity, ability to adapt to changes and take the initiative. Market yourself and your competence. This enables you to move towards your dream job.

What kind of jobs should a new graduate aspire for? How much does my first job determine my future career? How could I be chosen over applicants who have 5 years of work experience?

When you are young, you should be open and participate in as many things as possible to determine your strengths and interests. There are many kinds of jobs and organisational cultures, and their suitability to you can only be found through experience. Therefore, it is important to learn to reflect on your first job experiences. This reflection enables you to find new perspectives and enhance your skills by understanding both theory and practice.

It is important to be aware of the factors that motivate you. Experience is not all that counts in a recruitment decision – employers also appreciate an applicant’s motivation and suitability for the team (Skyhood 2015). Emphasise your characteristic strengths when searching for a job. Demonstrate your motivation by applying for vacancies you have actually researched in depth. This already sets you apart from at least some of the competitors.

Employment relationship

How common are employers who do not pay holiday bonuses?

The holiday bonus is not a statutory requirement. Therefore, the payment of a holiday bonus depends on the applicable collective agreement or employment contract. Some employers do pay a holiday bonus, even when not separately agreed upon (this is currently the case in the forest industry, for example). Check the applicable collective agreement on how the holiday bonuses are paid. If you are not covered by a collective agreement, holiday bonuses can be agreed upon in the employment contract. For more information on holiday bonuses, see the legal section on TEK’s website

Approximately 85% of TEK member are covered by a collective agreement. In all of these collective agreements, TEK has been a party to negotiations on holiday bonus. Thanks to this safeguarding of interests, the majority of TEK’s members are entitled to a holiday bonus.