Finland demands ICT talent

Man smiling

"In Finland, there is a trust-based culture at work”, says Chee How Goh.

What country is leading the digital revolution? Finland. Our ICT industry – and everything related to it – is booming. Log in!

Finland is at the forefront of ICT and digitalization. The country is leading innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), big data, virtual reality (VR), cyber security and 5G, with 6G looming on the horizon. This means there’s a boom across sectors like gaming, smart buildings, smart health, smart cars, electronics, and software.


Chee How Goh works as a project manager on System-on-Chip, SoC, at the Nokia office in the Finnish city of Oulu. He has in-depth experience working with computer chipsets in his home country, Malaysia. Discover his experiences working in ICT in Finland as an international talent – while Finns Jarkko Pyykkönen and Sanna Räisänen from Nokia shed light on the industry’s prospects for the future.

Land of telecommunication

“My first mobile phone was the Nokia 3310! This had an impact on my decision to transfer to Nokia, although today’s Nokia no longer manufactures mobile phones but rather, is a B2B technology innovation leader. I wanted to see how I could contribute my knowledge to Nokia’s Mobile Networks division.” 


Knowledge is something that Chee How Goh has plenty of, after working at Intel for 20 years. 


“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone after 20 years in the PC industry and see what telecommunications is like. I just needed to accommodate the flow and methodology. I like this industry because it’s closer to the end user.” 

A culture of innovation, research and experimentation

Before accepting his job offer, Goh did his homework and grew excited about the opportunities Nokia provides. He says the development of 5G and 6G is very interesting, and that Nokia invests heavily in the assessment and exploration of emerging technologies and future trends. 


“6G is still a few years down the road, but the research is already underway in cooperation with universities and research institutes. I feel lucky to be involved in cutting-edge technology and I see Nokia as a company that finds ways to keep innovating.” 


He also praises Nokia’s close collaboration with universities, where graduates have a strong chance of finding opportunities at Nokia or other companies in the industry. 


Jarkko Pyykkönen, Head of Nokia’s Campus at Oulu, says that across Nokia’s Finnish locations in Espoo, Tampere and Oulu, employees are developing new products and conducting advanced research. They create world-class, cutting-edge technologies and lead globally significant business operations. In recent years, Nokia's focus has been on 5G related R&D.  


Sanna Räisänen, Talent Attraction Partner at Nokia Oulu, adds that employees can really make their mark at Nokia and that the company supports employees developing and pursuing their own ideas. 


“We encourage everybody to speak up and share their ideas. There’s a great example from our field-testing unit, where one of our employees had the idea of attaching a test device to a drone. Now there’s a whole team working on it.” 

Jarkko Pyykkönen, Head of Nokia’s Campus.

Jarkko Pyykkönen, Head of Nokia’s Campus.

Trust and punctuality

Chee How Goh joined Nokia amidst the Covid 19 pandemic. With comprehensive onboarding and a supportive manager, he was able to quickly get up to speed in the company and his projects fast. Since working at Nokia, he’s learned that Finnish companies have a strong emphasis on trust and punctuality.


“This means both showing up in internal meetings on time and delivering to deadline. And if somebody sees that they can’t meet a milestone, they raise their hand. This is good, because we trust in the whole team. In Finland they walk the talk.” 

The Finnish technology sector needs new talent

According to the Technology Industries of Finland, the Finnish tech sector will need approximately 130, 000 new employees by 2030. To reach this number, Pyykkönen says that the sector will need to reach beyond Finland’s borders and recruit internationally – and the same goes for Nokia.


Nokia employs approximately 6,800 people in Finland. Across 2021-2022, the company recruited approximately 1,200 new employees in Finland to permanent positions, most of them for R&D related positions. About half of these new recruits were non-Finnish citizens, some of whom were already living in Finland after studies or other Finnish roles.


Both Pyykkönen and Räisänen say that the company’s recruitment approach is global, and that the work environment is very inclusive. Nokia’s working language is English and due to the international work community, adapting is easy. Peer support is also strong and there’s always another international to lean on. As a global company, Nokia provides a lot of support for onboarding and integrating into the Finnish society.


And what kind of talent is Nokia currently hunting for? 


"We always need expertise in system-on-chip development, as well as software and hardware development, testing and cloud expertise,” says Pyykkönen.

Work-life balance and well-being are priorities

At the time of this interview, Chee How Goh is mere days away from his annual 4-week vacation. 


“I’m going to visit my home country. When people ask me about Finland and Nokia, the first thing I’ll talk about is the work-life balance. It’s absolutely awesome!”  


In Finland, people tend to work efficiently within 7.5 hours a day and enjoy the evenings and weekends off. He says that it’s good to see that this is common practice throughout society. 


“There’s no pressure to log in outside the office hours. The company also encourages me to prioritize my well-being – for example, by reminding me to take my annual summer holiday."


Räisänen points out that work-life balance and the well-being of employees are prioritized at Nokia. 


“Having worked a year and a half at Nokia, I can say with confidence that people are at the center.” 


She mentions that Finns are generally highly educated, people can easily switch to English, and that the society is safe and highly egalitarian.


“There’s no situation where you wouldn’t be able to get a service delivered in English. Finns are very helpful and adaptive when it comes to that.” 


This extends to workplaces, and it’s easy to work in English in Finland. For everyday encounters and integrating deeper into Finnish society, Chee How is learning the Finnish language. His four children, aged between 3-12, have quickly picked up the language. Two of his children attend an international school where they have Finnish lessons. 

Sanna Räisänen, Talent Attraction Partner at Nokia Oulu.

Sanna Räisänen, Talent Attraction Partner at Nokia Oulu.

Finland's digital leadership has a solid foundation

Finland is a global front-runner in digitalization. The WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2019 shows that Finland is the world number one when it comes to the availability of latest technologies. It is also the most digitalized country in Europe, according to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). University-industry collaboration is close, the public sector is digital, and Finland has embraced the idea of open source and open data. Finland is also the number one innovator in cybersecurity capabilities. International partners are welcomed by Finland and the start-up scene is booming. 


In the 1990s, Finland’s public decision-makers enacted rules to encourage digitalization, while educational institutions prioritized the skills needed by global digital companies. Today’s Nokia is a B2B technology innovation leader, pioneering networks that sense, think and act by leveraging work across mobile, fixed and cloud networks. 


While Nokia’s headquarters are in Finland, the company operates in approximately 130 countries worldwide. Teams are international both globally and locally. In Finland, employees come from approximately 80 different nationalities.


Pyykkönen and Räisänen say that international teams mean the company gets diverse perspectives and ideas.  Diversity gives Nokia a competitive advantage, and according to Räisänen it helps Finns, too.


“It is an immense advantage for us Finns to learn from the international talents – both workwise and in everyday culture as well,” says Räisänen


 Pyykkönen adds: 


“We truly believe that bringing people together from different cultures and backgrounds and with different skills, identities and perspectives creates a better employee experience and makes us stronger across innovation, customer engagement and operational performance. We are committed to a culture that values and respects everyone and provides all our people with an equal opportunity to grow.” 

A technology superpower with a supportive ecosystem

Finland is consistently ranked among the world's most innovative countries. It’s important to understand that all Finnish industries are digitizing, so ICT experts are needed not only in the digital sector, but also everywhere else.  


Finland sets a framework for digital development and makes it possible via legislation and education – while companies drive digitization on a practical level. To thrive and grow, tech companies benefit from Finland’s modern work culture with low hierarchies, flexibility and a supportive atmosphere. 


Finland has an ambitious goal to increase the share of its product development and innovation funding in GNP from less than three percent to four percent.  This demands a huge amount of talent that can’t be found in Finland alone. 


The Finnish industry ecosystem is open to international collaboration and offers cutting-edge research and testing environments.


For example, Finland is a MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) pioneer and offers R&D for intelligent vehicles. Finland also offers the best available testing environment for 5G network technology, and the 6G flagship research program led by the University of Oulu is open to international companies that are interested in the possibilities of next-generation wireless technologies. Of course, Finnish gaming and software industries are blooming, and so is everything related to AI or IoT. Finnish-made sensors can even be found on Mars.

Nokia headquarter in Oulu.

Nokia headquarter in Oulu.

Finland – the heart of the digital revolution

Here are some factors behind Finland's success in the sector:  


  • Finland is the global number one in availability of latest technologies. 
  • Finland is the most digitalized country in Europe. Efficiency is a key benefit, but digitalization can also improve innovation and creativity. 
  • Finland holds the world’s number one spot in university-industry collaboration, according to the EU/Impact Assessment. 
  • Finland is the global number one in mobile app creation. 
  • Finland has a talented high-tech workforce which consists of both homegrown and international professionals. 
  • Finland’s online public services were ranked 2nd in Europe and 6th in the world in the UN E-Government Survey (2018). The Finnish public sector is an early adopter of new digital technologies.
  • Finland was the first country in the EU to develop an official artificial intelligence strategy, and the government is committed to turning Finland into the leading country in the application of AI. 
  • The foundation of digitalization is data, and Finland has up-to-date progressive legislation with strong support from officials. Finland is also a leader in building international technical and ethical standards in open data.  
  • Finland is also the spiritual home of open source, as the Linux operating system was born here. 
  • Finland is the world’s number one innovator in cybersecurity capabilities, according to the EU/Impact Assessment.  
  • Finnish businesses, universities, think tanks and public entities collaborate with international partners across a variety of initiatives, ranging from very specific ICT challenges to broad questions on digitalization. 
  • The Finnish startup ecosystem is one of the most attractive in Europe. 


Discover more ICT companies in Finland

  • ICEYE – a Finnish microsatellite manufacturer. The ICEYE radar satellite constellation transforms the way we look at our world from space. Reach for the stars and explore ICEYE’s open positions
  • Tietoevry – a developer of purposeful technology with a strong Nordic heritage and global capabilities. Learn more about careers at Tietoevry.
  • Supercell – a world-famous game company, with titles such as Clash of Clans and Hay Day under their belt. Get in the game and explore careers at Supercell
  • Hoxhunt – a company putting humans first in cybersecurity by rewriting the rules of cybersecurity training. For a meaningful job, discover what Hoxhunt’s careers have to offer. 
  • Nixu – a cybersecurity services company that has been shaping the future through cybersecurity for over three decades. Their experts safeguard the most demanding environments of some of the largest organizations in the world. Take a look at careers at Nixu
  • Easy Anti-Cheat – the industry leader in anti–cheat services, countering hacking and cheating in multiplayer PC games through hybrid anti–cheat mechanisms. Read more about Easy Anti-Cheat
  • Supermetrics - their mission is to make data analysis simpler, more productive and more connected. Do you want to make the world of data a better place? Take a look at careers at Supermetric
  • RELEX Solutions - the market-leading supply chain & retail planning platform. Explore careers at RELEX Solutions
  • Terramonitor – they develop a tool that monitors new buildings, construction sites or changes in land use – anywhere in the world. Put yourself on the map and read more about Terramonitor
  • IQM Quantum – a company that builds world-leading quantum computers. It brings application-specific problem solving to many industries. If qubits ­are your thing, explore careers at IQM
  • Bluefors – specializing in cryogen-free dilution refrigerator measurement systems with a strong focus on the quantum computing and information community. Discover open positions at Bluefors
  • Algorithmiq - this company’s mission is to revolutionize life sciences by exploiting the potential of quantum computing to solve problems we can’t resolve any other way. Explore vacancies at Alqorithmic

See more open jobs at our website.