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Open working culture at Sweco supports career move to Finland

March 30, 2022

The possibility to make a positive impact on society, strong support for career development and a relaxed working culture are among the main motivators that have kept Miguel Moreira and Rui Peixeiro happy at Sweco in Finland.

Originally from Portugal, Miguel Moreira’s path to Sweco and Finland began with a personal interest in the Nordic countries. He chose to finish his studies in electric engineering in Finland and wrote his master’s dissertation in 2015 at Aalto University. Before applying for a job at Sweco, he gained work experience at Arctech Shipyard as a marine electrician and Eaton as an application engineer in technical sales support.

“Back in Portugal, we don’t have that many opportunities to work at big international companies and in major projects, but here I sent applications to all the main engineering consulting companies that have offices in Finland and landed a position at Sweco. I have now worked as a project engineer on various large projects in the development and implementation stages of industrial electrical networks,” Miguel says.

He has been especially impressed with the way that Sweco has allowed and enabled him to develop his work tasks in line with his own interests and to take on a lot of responsibility.

“I’ve worked on really large industrial projects that can last several years, so I’ve been able to look into things in detail and do research, and exchange knowledge both with colleagues and clients. Sweco really supports such learning experiences if you want to expand your competencies,” Miguel points out.

Clear career path

A fellow countryman to Miguel, Rui Peixeiro has taken a slightly different route to Sweco. Rui’s Finnish adventure began with meeting his future spouse while working on a power plant project in Chile. Before she was about to give birth, they moved to her hometown of Rovaniemi in Northern Finland in 2016.

“It wasn’t easy to find a job in Finland at first, so I decided to take the opportunity when I was invited to join a project in Argentina as a steam turbine commissioning engineer,” says Rui, whose background is in industrial automation and instrumentation.

After returning to Finland, Rui’s persistence in actively approaching companies finally paid off, when Sweco contacted him and offered a position as a design engineer. The people immediately made a good impression on Rui and offered exactly the type of challenge he was looking for next in his career.

“Because I hadn’t worked in this type of environment in Finland before and didn’t know Sweco’s design and engineering processes, it was good to start in this position. But we have already set a career target and path for me to progress to the position of project manager. This is something that is motivating and certainly sets working here apart from my home country, where you don’t necessarily see a clear progression in your career,” Rui says.

Cool conditions, warm people

Considering other differences between Portugal and Finland, both Miguel and Rui agree that a low level of hierarchy at Sweco makes working much more relaxed. The atmosphere is less stressful, and colleagues are supportive.

“In Finland you can approach anyone in the corridor, regardless of their managerial position, and have a chat or coffee. You are encouraged to share your ideas openly,” Miguel says. “In Portugal, you need to be much more formal. At such a horizontal organisation like Sweco, I can talk with my line manager as if I was speaking with my friend,” Rui adds.

As a major plus point for employees, Rui emphasises the fact that Sweco hires for the long term, providing more stability and motivation. Unlike in Portugal, where it’s more usual to hire for a one- or two-year period and continue with short fixed-term agreements. Also, the salary level and benefits are good, working hours are flexible, and all practical things in society work smoothly and reliably. Both Miguel and Rui agree that the tax money in Finland is well spent on functioning public services.

A typical concern when considering moving to Finland, especially from the warmer climate in Portugal, is how to cope with the cold and dark conditions. Miguel admits that as a student and young person at the beginning of his career he didn’t pay much attention to the weather at first, but it has taken a bit of a toll along the years. Rui, on the other hand, has had no problems in adjusting to the climate.

“I’m a big fan of the outdoors, so I’ve really enjoyed being in Finland, where the nature is amazing. And especially living in the north and working remotely from here, the snow refracts a lot of light, so it isn’t really completely dark in the winter either.”

Making a difference

For Rui, perhaps the main motivational factor at work is being involved in projects that have a positive impact on society and the environment.

“Personally, it’s of huge importance that we are selecting devices and designing systems based on sustainable development and are actively playing our part in making the world a better place. This fits my own values and feels like a privilege to enable this process.”

We are looking for a Senior Hydrometallurgist to join our Mining, Minerals and Water team in Finland, Helsinki.  

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