English Usage: Finland
English is spoken as a first language by 0.38% and as a second language by 70% of people in Finland. It is widely used in business with 99% of employees of Finnish companies surveyed reporting they use English in their jobs. However, English is not as widely used in media with only 3.5% of Finnish news sources presenting information in English.
English as a First or Second Language in Finland
- In 2018, there were 20,713 native English speakers living in Finland out of a total population of 5.5 million. Therefore, 0.38% (20,713/5,500,00x100) of the population in Finland speaks English as a first language.
- Approximately 70% of people in Finland speak English as a second language.
- In 2018, Finland was ranked 8th with a rating of "very high" in terms of English proficiency among 63 countries studied.
English Used for Business Purposes in Finland
- Most Finnish people in the business world speak fluent English and some Finnish companies use English as their first language.
- A survey of employees of Finnish companies revealed that 270/272 respondents reported using English in their jobs with 253 of those respondents reporting they use English daily or weekly.
- Although 99% (270/272x100) of respondents said they use English in their jobs, 84% disagreed with the statement, "It would be enough if all could speak English."
- One major barrier identified as insurmountable by foreign entrepreneurs in Finland was not speaking Finnish. Since 67% of those surveyed stated their preferred language is English, it can be concluded that while English is widely spoken in Finland and many businesses use English in communications, being an English speaker is not sufficient for an individual trying to start a business in the country.
English in Finnish Media
- A list of news and media sources in Finland indicates that seven of the 199 outlets listed are available in English. Based on this information, just 3.5% (7/199x100) of the country's news and media sources are available in English.
- It is important to note four of the media outlets that make their information available in English are based in Helsinki while the other three are national sources.
- Finnish television stations broadcast some foreign-language shows, including some in English, and use Finnish subtitles instead of dubbing, leaving the English soundtrack intact.
In order to identify information on the use of English in Finland, we reviewed various Finnish and international statistics databases, including Statistics Finland and Education First. Information available on these databases included the number of native and non-native English speakers in Finland and general population data for the country. We then reviewed surveys, news stories and governmental websites aimed at foreign visitors and immigrants for information on the extent to which English is used in business and media in Finland. Using these sources, we were able to compile the information presented above.