International recruitment for Finlands hospitality industry – Service Design Hyvinkää P2P/SBA Fall 2022

When it comes to Finland’s strongest and most important economy sectors, the hospitality industry plays an undeniable leading role. Besides the number of jobs it creates, it also shapes the image of Finland as a country around the world. Nevertheless, there is big demand for people working in this industry. Often it requires a lot of flexibility, multitasking and hands on mentality. In the end it is no longer enough sourcing professionals within the country but internationally even globally. But which aspects lead people to move to Finland? What target group are we looking for and how can we find and approach the right people? 

In the following article you will read about a brief introduction to the Hyvinkää P2P Service Design project and about our client Barona, Finland’s leading employment agency.

Introducing the team

Presenting our project, we should start with a short introduction of the team members who are participating. We are a multicultural group of eight, including 6 Finnish, one German and one Ukrainian student. Therefore, our spoken and written language throughout the whole project is English, so everybody understands what to do. Our team is divided into several team roles. The head of our group is our project manager, followed by a deputy who supports and works closely with the project manager. Then there is a secretary who is in charge of all administrative matters. When it comes to publishing blog posts or creating social media content to inform others about the progress of the project, we have two communication coordinators. Another team role that should not be underestimated is the welfare manager. Our team consists of two students being responsible for creating a well-balanced, pleasant work environment by giving weekly tasks regarding physical and mental health.

The client 

The center of the project is our client Barona. The Finnish leading private employment agency also operates in Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Spain as well as Eastern Europe. Besides looking for suitable, future-oriented partnerships for their own clients, Barona offers interested employees several working opportunities at any stage of their career. 

The agency was founded in Helsinki, Finland in 1999 by two students from Oulu. The company’s establishment leads back to a summer at a construction site. The industry was booming, nevertheless there was a huge shortage of qualified workers. Facing this challenge, the two founders Markus Oksa and Mikko Leppänen used their network of competent workers to convey them to employee searching businesses. Today Barona offers its human resource services to clients of ten different business sectors.[1]

Among other things, currently Barona focusses on sourcing people that want to work in the Finnish hospitality industry. While it is interviewing people from Thailand, India and the Philippines, they asked us to think of a way to recruit people from European countries. 

First Steps and goals of the project

Finland’s northern lights make the country a great place to visit, but for our project we had to dig deeper into the perks of actual working and living in Finland. Using a mind map we collected facts like the public healthcare system, a high level of security and trust as well as excellent education possibilities. We aim to validate our summarized data by creating a survey and ask migrated people of their reasons to work in Finland. Next, we looked into Europe’s greatest hospitality nations in order to find suitable sourcing targets. This led us to Germany, France and Spain. Hospitality plays a big role for German economy but faces the same lack of employees as Finland. Therefore, at least it helped to read about the countries they are sourcing in. Now we step into round two of research and have a closer look on countries like Ireland, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia.[2] All four nations may have skilled hospitality workers that might be open to leave their country for a higher standard of living within a welfare state like Finland.

Besides looking for suitable nations to hire from we also need to consider the target group as an individual. Since the hospitality sector is a tough, demanding working field, we focus on the needs of the younger generation between the age of 20-35.

Once we defined our main target group our aim is to find the most efficient marketing channels in order to approach the potential employees. Apart from making them aware of Finland itself our goal is to highlight the benefit of working at Barona. 

In the end we want to provide a guideline for Barona to successfully attract and hire international people for Finnish hospitality sector. Right now it is still to clarify in what kind of format we are going to summarize our collected data.

An update and reflection on the group’s project results will follow in November.


[1] https://barona.fi/en/barona, 08.09.2022

[2] https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Travel_Tourism_Development_2021.pdf, 08.09.2022


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