64% wage earners consider their work mentally strenuous
About 64% of wage and salary earners on the labour market considered their work mentally strenuous, according to preliminary data from the Working Life Barometer 2021 published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on Thursday.
About 72 per cent of senior white-collar employees felt this way, compared with 67 per cent of junior white-collar employees, said the ministry in a press release.
Wage and salary earners aged 35–44, in white-collar professions and in the public sector experienced burnout and harmful stress most often.
Despite the strain, more than 80 per cent of wage and salary earners felt that their capacity to work was good in relation to the physical and mental demands of the work.
“In addition to the workload and strain, there are many other factors that affect the ability to work, such as the resources and meaning provided by work, learning opportunities, sense of community and opportunities to influence work,” said Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen at the publication event for the Working Life Barometer.
“Developing management, work community, working conditions and the ways of working can have an impact on work capacity. The Government’s national WORK2030 programme carries out this development work together with workplaces, sectors and experts. Research data is needed to focus on the timely measures that best promote the quality and productivity of working life,” Haatainen added.
The views of wage and salary earners, however, were fairly positive for the second coronavirus year.
More than 80 per cent of them felt that their capacity to work was good in relation to the physical and mental demands of the work.
Most respondents to the Working Life Barometer were confident they would find work corresponding to their skills and work experience in case of unemployment, which indicates a generally positive view of the labour market.
As many as nine in ten wage and salary earners use digital tools in their work. The use of digital tools especially for interaction has rapidly increased between 2015 and 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and strong growth in remote work. There is a positive attitude towards experimenting and learning new skills at most workplaces.
The preliminary results of the Working Life Barometer showed that not all wage and salary earners have access to continuous learning. This is reflected in the Barometer as major differences based on socio-economic status.
Skills development is concentrated to those whose competence, skills and development opportunities are already good to start with due to their education and work tasks.
During the pandemic, the participation of wage and salary earners in education and training provided by employers decreased.
In autumn 2021, only 40 per cent of wage and salary earners had taken part in education and training paid by the employer. Other kind of education and training did not experience such a drop. As regards to learning at work, about 31 per cent of wage and salary earners participated in guided studies, 55 per cent studied independently and 51 per cent with the help of online materials.
“We must make continuous learning available to everyone in Finland. Skills and competence play an increasingly important role in solving the issues related to the green transition, digitalisation and inclusion in society,” said Haatainen.
She drew attention to the reform of continuous learning, launched during this government term, which responds to the need to develop skills throughout people’s lives and careers. The reform aims to increase learning in working life and to make participation in it more equal.
According to the preliminary results of the Barometer, remote work has become a norm, especially among white-collar employees.
As many as one in five wage and salary earners worked remotely every day in autumn 2021. Of those working remotely, 73 per cent felt that they could focus on work better than in the office, and 81 per cent estimated that remote work was productive.
At the same time, the use of digital tools in social interaction has become an everyday routine.
About 77 per cent of those wage and salary earners who work with the help of digital devices used electronic workspaces or instant messaging tools.
As a whole, 38 per cent of wage and salary earners considered their work physically strenuous, with the amount rising to 69 per cent among those in blue-collar professions.
Conducted since 1992, the Working Life Barometer is a sample study that examines the development of the quality of working life from the viewpoint of Finnish wage and salary earners.
The data for 2021 is based on telephone and online interviews conducted by Statistics Finland between August and October in connection with the Labour Force Survey. 1,899 wage and salary earners responded to the Barometer in 2021.