“A lake with snowy wooded shores in fog” by Dominik Dombrowski on Unsplash

Job market for designers in Finland on February/18

What kind of skills companies are seeking? This is a question that (should) interest those who are looking for a position. Also, if you are already working, it does not hurt to know what is happening in the market. :)

Full disclosure: I am a PhD candidate at Aalto University — Department of Design — where I investigate which skills companies seek when they recruit designers. More about my research can be found here.

Why is this important? In a few words, universities have many roles, One is to prepare students for the market. Also, the design profession is constantly evolving. Therefore it is imperative that a designer needs to be constantly renewing his/her skills.

Companies seeking designers specify the skills they need in job advertisements. Because of that, job ads are a good place to go in order to know which skills a person should have.

So far I've done a few academic papers analysing job advertisements. Now I decided to try a different writing style and outlet :). I'll publish a couple posts this year where I summarise which skills are required by companies in Finland and perhaps in other countries (suggestions? send it to paulond@gmail.com).

Let's start with what happened in the Finnish job market in February. A few words about the data collection: I have downloaded all the job advertisements for designers published on Linkedin and Indeed. So there might be a couple of positions that I have missed, for instance, those published on a company's website.

Ok, so shall we go to the most important part of the post: RESULTS

  • 83 open positions for designers
  • 50 of those job ads were in English and 33 in Finnish. As I cannot read Finnish, I had to drop these 33 ads, focusing only on those published in English.
  • The most frequent job title was UI/UX designers, with 21 open positions. Other job titles used in the job ads were Service designer, Visual designer and Graphic designer. Some very focused titles such as Game designer

Looking the data, I had a few questions that helped me to understand better what the data was telling me:

What are the most frequent skills present in the ads?

There were 6 skills mentioned in more than one third of the ads analysed, which are:

  • Visual design — Knowledge of visual skills such as typography, colours, layout, etc.
  • UI/UX design — Ability to work with User Interface and User Experience design.
  • Communication — Nowadays designers need not only to design but also to work in teams, present and convince clients and colleagues about their work.
  • Research — Companies ask for designers to be able to do research, interview users, test and prototype ideas during the process.
  • Development- Knowledge in language programming (HTML, CSS) to be able to code or at least discuss with developers.

Which other skills are important to have?

Companies are asking that designers have quite many skills. Some of them are not necessarily 'design skills', but more like that most professionals should have nowadays.

For example, 20 companies (66%) asked for designers interested in learning and willing to be challenged. Basically, companies are looking for people who are constantly evolving and looking for new knowledges in the work.

Having a business mindset was frequent in our analysis: 18 companies (60%) asked for designers with knowledge in branding, sales, business strategy, among others.

Service design is also trendy and required nowadays. In our analysis, 16 companies (53%) asked for designers who carries this knowledge.

Which software are companies using for doing design work?

Only 14 companies specified software requirements in their ads. But from those, the Adobe Creative Suite was the most frequent. More recent software such as Sketch and Invision also appeared in the job ads, less frequent than the old-school Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

How relevant is a degree in design for companies?

As a lecturer in both bachelor and master programmes in design, I like to think that education is essential for developing the skills needed to be a designer. That said, requests for a degree (bachelor or master) in design was asked by 8 (26%) companies.

Now you are ready, go for it! :)

So, these were my main findings in looking the job advertisements from February. It is important to note that there were only 30 positions analysed. As always, more data is needed to come to better conclusions.

I will keep collecting data and will write another post telling what happened in March. If you want to receive more information on your e-mail, please just fill this form: https://goo.gl/forms/EcOqolmdt4FF5bkr1 and I'll send it to you :)

If you have any comment, feedback or any other response to this post, I would be happy to hear. You can reach me on Twitter or e-mail: paulond@gmail.com :)