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February 2, 2021

Searching for a meaningful job attracts job seekers to impact investing

Katja Koski

Lately, I have encountered many news and studies about the growing trend of people, especially the younger generation, wanting to have a meaningful job and how many organisations put a lot of effort into helping their employees fully understand the importance of their work. As an HR manager, I have read hundreds of job applications and noticed that this is indeed the case. People who are interested in working for Finnfund are drawn to the mission of our company. In fact, many have been ready to quit their permanent job in order to work with us as in a temporary position. Our job applicant numbers have increased steadily in recent years.

Meaningful work improves employees’ motivation and well-being at work

The different aspects of a meaningful job come up a lot during our recruiting process. I can also see a connection between having a meaningful job and employees’ well-being at work. A new employee integrates into the work community faster and remains motivated if they know the purpose of their work. The newest addition to our environmental and social responsibility team, Päivi Lehtonen, explained in her blog post how the reality of working for Finnfund had exceeded her expectations.

“I knew that the organisation makes responsible investments in developing countries and makes them in a professional manner. But I did not know about the passion that goes into the work. Everyone works flat-out to make new sustainable investments,” Päivi writes. Even if you love your job, you are bound to have a bad day every now and then. Understanding the importance of your work and seeing the bigger picture can help you get through those bad days.

I believe that the meaningfulness of our work is one of the reasons why people tend to stay at Finnfund for a long time. In many larger organisations, people are assigned small roles in projects and they may never see the results and impact of their work. At Finnfund, people are given the opportunity to follow the entire project process and see the impact of their efforts. In the lifecycle of an investment, this might take several years. Seeing the impact of one’s work has also been highlighted as a motivation factor by job applicants.

Valuable values

Millennials, in particular, are reported to prioritise meaningfulness in their search for work. However, I have noticed that applicants of all ages find this aspect of work very important. Many people want to contribute to building a better world for future generations. Finnfund’s mission, to build a better world by investing in responsible and profitable businesses in developing countries, appeals to people.

I have worked for companies whose values match my own and some whose mission was unclear to me. I am happier when the values are visible in my daily work. In job interviews, many people bring up the question about how Finnfund’s mission is reflected in our employees’ everyday work. Job applicants are interested in how the issues Finnfund prioritises in its investments, such as gender equality and climate impacts, are visible in the organisation’s internal activities. We are expected to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Many of the applicants are already familiar to us: Finnfund is a very attractive employer, and a lot of people apply multiple times. Some have followed us and waited for a suitable job opening for years. This is not just flattering but also beneficial: Many of those who apply – and are selected – are familiar with our operations and have prior knowledge about the organisation. This helps new employees integrate into the work community and find their own place.

Sustainability skills are an asset in the job market

Only some Finnfund employees visit the places where our investments have the greatest impact: our investee companies’ business environment in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They can witness the impact of our work at first hand. This does not mean that the rest of us are left in the dark regarding ongoing projects and their development impact. Constant communication about the projects ensures that the importance of Finnfund’s work is not forgotten. External communication is also internal communication: Employees can follow Finnfund on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up with the organisation’s operations. Naturally, we also maintain very active internal communication.

Financial professionals interested in Finnfund have a strong desire to learn more about sustainable development. Nowadays, environmental and social responsibility is a subject included in business degree programmes. Still, many apply here in order to deepen their knowledge and improve their skills in sustainability. With 40 years of experience, Finnfund has become a pioneer in impact investing. This is also an asset for us as an employer. Young experts feel that working for Finnfund increases their market value as sustainability and impact investing are becoming more mainstream. Even if your job in essence focuses on the financial aspects of Finnfund’s operations, assessment and development of responsibility are an essential part of Finnfund’s investment process. When working as a team, everyone learns something new from each other. Similarly, our environmental and social advisers and development impact advisers are bound to learn the basics of finance. In addition, Finnfund provides training, courses and seminars for all employees in order to expand and improve their skills.

In January 2020, Finnfund staff gathered to listen to and discuss with Outi Haanperä, Leading Specialist, Climate and nature solutions at Sitra.


‘A meaningful job’ is not just an empty catchphrase to us. Finnfund has 40 years of experience in impact investing, but the importance of individuals’ skills in this area has gained more and more importance during the recent years. We are delighted to pique the interest of so many people and have highly motivated employees. Both of these things will ensure Finnfund’s future success.

Katja Koski
HR Manager, Finnfund


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