Edition 185 - September 2016

CIMO study reveals over half of international graduates stay in Finland

A study by CIMO reveals that enrolment in a Finnish university entails for half of international students staying on in the country post-graduation, to build a life and/or career.

The study, based on data from Statistics Finland, tracked 1704 foreign students registered in the country who graduated from Finnish universities in 2009 (out of a total 1889 international students) - examining their occupational or activity patterns after studies. A key conclusion is that 50% of students who remain in the country one year post graduation find employment and of those staying on for five years, 44% found work.

Further findings include:

  • Nearly one third of foreign students leave the country, a minority of students pursue continued studies and 20% stay in for miscellaneous reasons as unemployment.
  • The majority of students (over 50%) pursued education in the popular disciplines: technology and transport and social sciences, business and administration. The best employment rate was marked for those graduating in the social and health care sector (72% finding work in the first year), Technology graduates scoring above average in their employment rates and those in Business and Administration lagging slightly behind.
  • A Bachelor degree attained at a University of applied sciences made finding employment easier in comparison to other institutions – 54% of graduates being in work one year after studies
  • Master degree holders fared worse in their employment rates – 44% being employed after one year and 37% after five years. 
  • Students stemming from Africa found employment (64%) more quickly. In a longitudinal perspective differences become balanced, with minor dissimilarities between African, European and Northern American students in their employment rates. However, the chances of finding a job for Asian and Latin American students are lower on average.

Less Master graduates entering into the Finnish labour market can be attributed to these level studies aiming at an international career or further learning engagements. Universities of applied sciences performing particular well in shaping employable graduates, can be seen to link to work-based training that is often carried out in Finland.

With over 20 000 international degree students in  Finnish universities, 76 % originating from beyond EU/EEA boarders, these newest findings offer support in dispelling beliefs that foreign students chose Finland as a study destination to benefit from its free education model, only to then leave the country post-graduation, to work and economically contribute elsewhere. These insights offer a further angle to an ongoing debate related to Finland’s upcoming introduction of tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students as of January 2017.

CIMO – press release

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