The Russian Minority in the Finnish Labour Market and Work Communities
Departement of Sociology University of Turku Turku, Finland
Immigrants from Russia form the largest ethnic minority group in Finland. The attitudes towards Russians among the native population are relatively negative. There are several concerns about the problems of Russians to integrate into Finnish society and the Finnish labour market.
Previous research has been predominantly focused on the difficulties and barriers that immigrants face while seeking for employment from the point of view of discrimination, racism and the logic of labour markets. There is some evidence that, due to their high education and good skills in Finnish, the Russian speaking immigrants have either assumed or proven possibilities to integrate into the Finnish society. My aim is to investigate why the human capital in the case of the immigrants from Russia does not necessarily benefit these people on the Finnish labour market. What kind of social capital can be distinguished in the Finnish labour market and in the Russian-Finnish work communities in Finland in order to avoid to social conflicts or misunderstandings which are culturally and communicatively related.
I collect qualitative empirical data on social capital in multicultural Finnish work organizations. Work communities in Finland are becoming more pluralistic but they tend to hold some characteristic formal and informal values, norms and traditions when it comes to working culture and social interaction. The preliminary analysis, using semiotic sociology as a method, concentrates on the forms and changes of the human and social capital of the Russian minority workers in Finland. The analysis also aims to find positions, statuses, divisions and inequalities connected to the complex ethnic (and other) minority relations in the work organizations.