News about internationalisation


Majority of international graduates remain in Finland

The majority of foreign nationals who graduate from Finnish higher education institutions remain in Finland 5 years after their graduation. Almost 50% are employed, a small number continue their studies and 20% remain in the country for other reasons: they are, for example, unemployed or in education that does not lead into a degree. 32% have left Finland.

These are the main results of a study carried out at CIMO, based on data from Statistics Finland. The study examined foreign nationals who graduated from Finnish universities in 2009 and their main occupations 1, 3 and 5 years after their graduation.

– The number of those employed in Finland does not drop significantly over the years, Research Manager Irma Garam summarises the results. – One year after graduation, 51% of international graduates are employed, and after 5 years the figure is 44%. The percentage of those who leave the country rises somewhat over the years, as does the percentage of those who remain in Finland for other reasons.

Graduates from health and social care sector and universities of applied sciences have the best employment rate

A total of 1,889 international students graduated from Finnish universities in 2009. Those 1,704 who had a Finnish Identity Number were examined in this study. 1,026 of them, clearly over 50%, had graduated from one of the two big sectors: technology and transport, and social sciences, business and administration. The technology graduates had a slightly better than average employment rate all through the study period, whereas the employment rate of those who had studied business and administration was a little poorer than average.

– However, graduates from the social and health care sector – a total of 189 – had the best employment rate: 72% of them were employed after the 1st year and 68% after 5 years, says Garam.

Those who had a Bachelor degree from a university of applied sciences found work more easily than others: 54% of them were employed after the 1st year and 49% after 5 years from graduation. Those with a university Master’s degree had a poorer than average employment rate: 44% of them were employed after the 1st year and 37% after 5 years from graduation.

– Many Master’s programmes aim for further studies or an international career instead of the Finnish labour market. The objective of degrees from universities of applied sciences is more clearly to get graduates employed in the Finnish labour market; they often include work-based training which is often carried out in Finland, Garam says.

Graduates from Africa find work sooner than others

It seems that students from Africa find employment more quickly than graduates from other continents: 64% of them are employed 1 year after graduation. The difference balances out over the years so that in the end of the study period there are hardly any differences between Africans, Europeans and Northern Americans. Graduates from these continents have a better than average employment rate in Finland whereas the employment rate from those coming from Asia and Latin America is lower than average.

There are already over 20,000 international degree students in Finnish universities, 60% of which study in the fields of technology and transport and social sciences, business and administration. Almost 50% study in universities of applied sciences and 76% come from outside the EU/EEA. In 2014, 3,400 foreign nationals graduated from Finnish higher education institutions.

The data from Statistics Finland does not support the belief that foreign students come to Finland to get a free education and then leave the country to work elsewhere. Irma Garam finds the number of those who have stayed in the country and found work surprisingly big. – The figures are big even in international comparison; for example, those who have studied in the Netherlands and stayed there find work less often. In the Netherlands, 27% of international graduates from the Academic year 2008-2009 were employed after 5 years of graduation and only 38% had remained in the country. The figures have been calculated using slightly different criteria, however, so comparison is not quite straightforward.

Read more:

Facts Express 1B/2016: In Finland, at work, elsewhere?Status of international higher education students in Finland 5 years after their graduation

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