Universidade Europeia: www.europeia.pt  |  Licenciatura em Secretariado e Comunicação Empresarial: http://bit.ly/sce_ue

segunda-feira, 16 de junho de 2014

À conversa com ... Nina Aunula, Presidente da EUMA Finlândia

Nina Aunula got an International degree in tourism in 1991. She started her career as Communications Assistant at the Prime Minister's Office, where she stayed up to 1997. She then moved to Booz Allen Hamilton as an assistant and then, in 2000, to the Gillette Group Finland Oy as Office Manager/Executive Assistant. She is at Outokumpu Oyj since 2004, having worked there as Office Manager and Executive Assistant within several areas (e.g. Procurement, Legal Affairs, HR, Corporate Affairs, Compliance). She became National Chairman of EUMA Finland in 2012.

Nina Aunula (NA):  Please let me start by thanking my colleagues and EUMA Finland Corporate members from the Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences. The school provides for educational programs and degrees for Management Assistants in both Finnish and English. We discussed your questions together in order to be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information available.

Maria Joao Borges (MJB): In Portugal, a higher education degree in this area has been offered since 1962. However it seems that less and less people choose this career as a 1st option, even though there are lots of employment opportunities. Is there a similar trend in Finland?
NA: In Finland this field is actually quite popular, especially as the educational programs cater for versatile employment possibilities. The amount of applicants has been quite consistent.  The employment prospects are good – hardly any unemployment among the assistants. The employers value the degree(s) and the trade association and the University itself have been working hard in achieving and maintaining this reputation.

MJB: Initially professions undertaken only by men, positions are now mostly filled by women. Can you estimate a distribution between men and women in Finland?
NA: Very much a female-dominated field still, only 1% men apply for the programs available.

MJB: Is this a well rated profession in terms of the employment outlook for the next, say, 10 years?
NA: The future outlook is very good (relaying on the trade association as well as statistics). The role and the job description itself changes somewhat – more towards coordination, communication, strategy etc.

MJB: Do recruiters and employers look for specific skills? Do they look for technical training or base their choice mostly in soft skills?
NA: Organizational - as well as language skills (preferably additional languages – not only English) are a must, ICT-skills, the right attitude, a proactive mind-set and generally very good interaction skills.

MJB: Do these professionals have to have a specific license or to be part of a trade union in Finland?
NA: No, but the graduates from Haaga-Helia have the right to belong to the Trade Association Aito-HSO and add “HSO” after their BBA title (Bachelor of Business Administration).

MJB: In Portugal, as in some other countries, there is a wide range of names for this profession, which often do not translate into levels of responsibility or autonomy. What is the situation in Finland?
NA: There are some 300 titles in use as we speak, so very broad spectrum indeed. The title reflects the level of responsibility as well as the degree of independency within your role. Quite often, however, the title does not give full justice to your field of expertise and your job description.

MJB: In some countries there is a (somewhat) vigorous debate about the name secretary vs assistant. Is that the case in Finland? Why?
NA:  We don’t believe that the title Secretary is making a come-back, it is far more likely an  title along the lines of ”Management Co-coordinator” would be depicting the role of the assistant in the future.

MJB: How is the virtual dimension of the profession evolving in Finland? Do companies look for virtual assistants?
NA: This is not yet an apparent trend but it is predicted that virtual work is on the rise in the coming years. Some companies are indeed utilizing assistants that work more on a franchising basis.

Maria João Borges
Docente das UC de Práticas de Secretariado e Assessoria

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