We have published several blog posts about salaries. In this current one, we return to this topic by discussing salaries and wages in the private sector in Finland in 2020. This discussion is based on recent data by Statistics Finland.
The private sector as an employer in Finland
There are about 4 133 000 individuals in Finland who are currently working age (meaning 15-74 years of age). Of them, 2 741 000 are currently in the workforce and about 2 528 000 are actually working. The private sector employs about 1 871 000 of them. So, about 74 % of those employed are employed in the private sector.
Statistics Finland includes companies (also those owned by the state or municipalities), foundations, cooperatives, and associations into their definition of the private sector. They also include non-profit organizations, including religious ones, in their definition.
In 2019, there were about 292 000 companies in Finland. They employed just short of 1.5 million employees in 2019 when measured in full-time employees. So although the private sector in Statistics Finland data also includes non-profit organizations, the majority of employees in this sector are employed by normal companies.
The largest group of companies are service sector employers. They employed about 728 000 employees in 2019.
Statistics Finland collects salary and wage information from employers and employer organizations regularly. The following discussion about salaries and wages in Finland is based on this data.
All figures mentioned here are pre-tax figures.
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Monthly salaries in the private sector in Finland in 2020
In 2020, there were about 778 000 employees on monthly salaries in the private sector.
About 29 % of them were professionals and 31 % were technicians and associate professionals. About 16 % are service and sales workers. Clerical support workers make 8 % of this group and managers 6 %.
According to Statistics Finland, the median monthly salary of private-sector employees was 3 435 € in 2020. The average monthly salary was 3 832 €.
These figures represent the regular pay of full-time salaried employees. They include any possible additions paid for, for example, Sunday work. They also include the taxable value of regular benefits (eg. lunch or mobile phone benefit). But they don’t include overtime pay or bonuses.
The median monthly salary of men was 3 882 €. That of women was 3 033 €.
Those among the best 10 % of earners made at least 5 865 € a month. Those in the lowest 10 % of earners made 2 272 € or less a month in 2020.
The median monthly salary of professionals was 4 477 € in 2020. For technicians and associate professionals it was 3 452 €. The median for service and sales workers was 2 506 € per month in 2020. For clerical support workers, instead, the median monthly salary was 2 836 € in 2020.
The spread in monthly salaries was widest for managers. Those managers who were among the 10 % earning the least made 4 004 € per month at most. Those managers who instead were among the top 10 % of earners in that group made at least 10 185 € per month. Managers do not include CEOs as legally speaking they are not employees.
The wide salary range among managers is at least partly explained by differences between industries. For example, the monthly median salary of managers in the financial and insurance industries was 8 200 €. The median monthly salary for managers in the social services industry, instead, was 4 075 € in 2020.
Hourly wages in the private sector in Finland in 2020
In the private sector, those who earn hourly wages are most often manual laborers. The Statistics Finland data covers the wage information of about 322 000 employees. About 59 % of them work in manufacturing or construction. 78 % of them are men and 22 % are women.
In 2020, the median hourly wage in the private sector was 16.8 €. For men, it was 17.4 € while for women it was 14.1 €.
If we take overtime pay into account, the median hourly wage in 2020 was 17.7 €. In this case as well, men’s median hourly wage was higher (18.4 €) than women’s (14.6 €).
On average, different types of extras, such as Sunday and overtime pay, increased hourly wages by 90 cents in 2020.
In certain occupations, these extras made much more of a difference. They are most common in the process industry where three-shift work is common. This includes, for example, pulp and papermaking plant operators, and chemical products plant and machine operators. Different types of extras associated with shift work (and overtime) increased hourly wages in these occupations by at least 3 €.
Among the ten most common employee groups with hourly wages, employees belonging to these two groups had the highest total hourly earnings.
The regular hourly wages of carpenters and joiners were actually higher than those of chemical workers. The latter had higher total hourly wages, though. This was due to the extras we mentioned.
Among the ten most common employee groups making hourly wages, office cleaners had the lowest hourly wage. Their median hourly wage without overtime in 2020 was 11.44 €. At the same time, the median hourly wage without overtime for pulp and papermaking plant operators was 20.66 €.
The difference in the median hourly wages of men and women is again mostly explained by the stark gender segregation of the Finnish labor market. We’ve discussed this before.
If we look at the occupation groups with the highest hourly earnings, most of them are men. In 2018, about 11 % of the pulp and papermaking plant operators were women. Of the chemical products plant and machine operators, about 29 % were women in 2018. Of the office cleaners, instead, about 82 % are women.
There are different ways to find out about salaries and wages in Finland. You can use this tool to check the wage information of private-sector occupations. Here, in turn, is the tool for private-sector salaries. The tools are in Finnish but you can search for the occupational codes in English here.
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