- There are two floors of people in Finland, I think that is the key point, says researcher Sampo Pehkonen from Statistics Finland.
On Monday, Statistics Finland published wage structure statistics, which compile the earnings data of about 1.7 million full-time and part-time employees from September to December last year.
Read more: Wage structure statistics for 1.7 million Finns published: find out what income category you belong to here!
According to statistics, the hourly wage in expert-level positions is at least about the typical hourly wage of a typical employee, ie the median of the lowest tenth of the hourly earnings of expert tasks is in the same range as the median hourly earnings of employee occupations.
The most typical professions for experts in 2019 were nurses, application designers, and sales representatives.
On the employee side, most wage earners worked as social workers, cleaners and warehouse workers, Statistics Finland says.
In total, the median total earnings of employees per hour worked were EUR 17.9 in 2019.
Median earnings are obtained when employees are ranked according to merit and the middle employee is selected.
The lowest tithe, on the other hand, refers to the amount of euros earned less by less than 10% of employees.
According to Pehkonen, however, the differences are not large when compared to the rest of Europe.
- According to Eurostat statistics, the Nordic countries form a cluster with a more even income distribution than other countries, he says.
However, data from 2014 have been used for comparison, as new figures will not be available until the end of the year.
According to Pehkonen, major changes are still hardly coming.
- There is dispersion between different European countries.
In Germany, income disparities are at the forefront of Europe, with low-cost jobs created, and the average earnings of experts are more than double those.
There are no such big differences in Finland, Pehkonen says.
According to statistics, academic education in Finland is also worthwhile.
About 80 percent of the experts had at least the lowest tertiary education.
In contrast, in the occupations, about 81 per cent had at most a secondary or high school or vocational school degree.
The statistics take into account total hourly earnings, which include all bonuses, overtime earnings and fringe benefits in addition to basic and table salaries.
Total hourly earnings are gross, ie no taxes or other charges have been deducted.
- Gross wages provide good guidelines for comparison.
Net salaries are affected by taxation, which depends on many factors, such as the municipality of residence, Pehkonen says.
- In general, taxation, of course, equalizes the distribution of income.
The impression of income inequality changes slightly if we look at monthly wages instead of hourly wages.
Total hourly earnings are calculated from monthly earnings based on the hours for which the salary has been paid.
In 2019, part-time work was clearly more common in employee occupations.
25 per cent of employees worked part-time, while the corresponding percentage of experts was 10 per cent.
Thus, hourly wages may be close indeed, but an employee may have fewer hours due to part-time work.
- Part-time work is visible on the employee side in the lowest decile, as its earnings drop considerably on the employee side.
The maximum monthly earnings for the lowest decile of employees is EUR 1,157, compared to EUR 2,367 for experts.
In practice, the pay gap is somewhat offset by the fact that more overtime is worked on the employee's side - or at least paid for.
- There are more paid overtime hours on the employee side, but in surveys many people in the expert fields say that they worked overtime in the same week, Pehkonen says.
- Judging from this, there is a lot of overtime in the fields of expertise, which does not increase hourly earnings because they are not remunerated.