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Trade Union News from Finland

MEE's working life barometer 2011:
Relevance of work and willingness to work on the decline


Helsinki (29.02.2012 - Juhani Artto) The relevance of work and willingness to work are diminishing, say a majority of wage and salary earners, according to the latest working life barometer. It was published in January by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE). Recent annual reports reveal that this trend has been prevalent for a longer time already. In autumn 2011, when the latest material was collected and sifted, it was found that the number of negative replies (making up the majority) was even greater than in previous years.

Among those working in government jobs negative replies - to the question of relevance of work and willingness to work - constituted an overwhelming majority. This feeling was shared by also a large majority of municipal employees and was somewhat smaller majority among employees working in industry and in private services. In all of these four categories the majority of negative replies was larger in 2011 than in 2010. In industry in 2010 positive replies still constituted a narrow majority.

As to the age factor, positive estimates won out only among the youngest respondents, those below 25 years of age. The largest majority of negative "votes" came from employees between 45 and 54 years of age, closely followed by the oldest age group (55 and over).

No significant difference was found between the estimates given by men and women. In the 2010 working life barometer women clearly "voted" more negatively than men.

Positive replies to six other questions

MEE's annual working life barometer does not explain why more and more wage and salary earners consider that the relevance of work and willingness to work have been diminishing in the last few years. One should not doubt the method, used in this survey, as replies given to six other questions have been clearly positive.

Year after year a large majority have been of the opinion that gender equality and employees' opportunities to influence their own jobs and their skills' improvement have developed positively. Positive replies have prevailed also when asked about the supervisor's way of management and about availability of information on the goals of the work place.

The replies are based on a statistically representative sample of over 1,200 wage and salary employees, from 18 to 64 years of age, whose normal working hours exceed 10 hours per week. The replies were furnished in September-October 2011 during the course of telephone interviews. The reply rate was 80 per cent.