Many aspects of Finnish working life are the best in Europe

International comparisons place Finland first in Europe in terms of a range of working prac-tices. Practices supportive of innovation are a particular strength. In Finland, work is charac-terised by a good working atmosphere and employees have the opportunity to learn, to have an impact on their work and to balance work with family life.

This is confirmed by an international report – forming part of the Working Life 2020 project – which examines the quality and productivity of Finnish working life in comparison with other European countries.

Minister of Labour Lauri Ihalainen views the results as encouraging.

"Our labour markets are transforming. It's great to see results that so strongly confirm the innovative and cooperative spirit of Finnish working life. By tackling its weaknesses, Finland can achieve its goal of becoming the best in Europe in terms of quality of working life," says Ihalainen.

Innovation is supported in Finland in a number of ways. Workers keep up to speed with new ideas, organisations develop their operations, self-directed teamwork is standard and com-panies cooperate extensively on product and service production.

Finland still has some way to go in some areas. In Finland, a smaller proportion of compa-nies than the European average have created new or improved products and services. This is true of companies of all sizes, particularly industrial players. In addition, harassment and bullying in the workplace are more common in Finland than in many other countries and im-provements are needed in the work of supervisors, for example.

"There is a clear need to develop the working atmosphere and leadership," says Ihalainen.

"Practices that incentivise innovation are critical to a company's competitiveness. We at Tekes are actively involved in The Working Life 2020 project, by championing new practices and the renewal of companies," says Pekka Soini, Director General of Tekes.

Ensuring the quality of working life will only become more complex as the global business environment rapidly changes. The rapid development of technology, worsening environmental problems and changes in the population's age structure are examples of such changes. Changes in working life will be accompanied by factors such as new business opportunities, new working practices and methods, newly required expertise and new kinds of health risks.

"Adapting to change will require a constructive approach and mutual trust between employ-ers and employees. We need to improve the position of employees in times of change. Broad-based knowledge will continue to be a Finnish strength in the future. The relationship between work and education needs to become even closer," emphasises Ihalainen.

It is important to monitor and take note of changes as working life develops. In this way, the policies will meet the key challenges of the present day and the future.

You can read the report by TEM and Tekes on TEM's website at

Further information

Maija Lyly-Yrjänäinen, Senior Adviser, TEM, tel. +358 2950 47109
Elise Ramstad, Senior Adviser, Tekes, tel. +358 50 557 7948

Tiina Lifländer
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