Employees’ average monthly insured earnings in Finland are just over 2,800 euros. Women’s average earnings are 800 euros less than men’s. Earnings peak between ages 40 and 50.
Finnish employees’ average monthly insured earnings in 2017 were 2,860 euros. The median was 2,610 euros, according to statistics from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Earnings have hardly changed from the previous year. Men’s average insured earnings (3,260 €) were 800 euros or one quarter higher than women’s (2,470 €). The gender pay gap is clear in all income brackets and increases with earnings level.
A major explanation for the pay gap lies in the gendered labour market. Women’s weaker labour market status is reflected not only in the monetary compensation they receive, but also in their fixed-term employment. Women work part-time more often than men. Furthermore, women still shoulder the main responsibility for the care of small children.
“Women use more than 90 per cent of all child care benefits, which is reflected in earnings and later in pensions as well,” says Jari Kannisto, Development Manager at the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Earnings-related pension benefits are accrued not only from time spent caring for children at home but also, on certain conditions, from periods of studying and spells of unemployment and illness. In 2017 benefits for unpaid periods were recorded for around one million people.
Young women have lowest earnings
The lowest earnings in 2017 were recorded for women aged 17–30, who on average earned 1,500 euros a month. The highest earners were men in their forties, whose average monthly earnings were 4,000 euros.
Men’s earnings increase steadily from age 20 through to age 40, and then level off. Women’s earnings growth plateaus at around age 30, and then returns to an upward trend after 35.
“It seems that setting up a family has a much greater effect on women’s earnings trajectory than on men’s. Women’s income growth comes to a halt at the child health clinic. At the same time this means they don’t reach their peak income until age 50, a decade later than men,” Kannisto continues.
Women’s top income decile begins at monthly earnings of 4,200 euros. For men the corresponding threshold is around 5,600 euros.
Finnish Centre for Pensions statistics are based on employees’ insured earnings. These refer to income from all employment under the earnings-related pension scheme, including irregular jobs that may be of short duration or part-time. According to Statistics Finland’s structure of earnings statistics, total earnings in full-time employment last year averaged 3,573 euros a month, while the median was 3,150 euros.
Private sector accounts for 70 per cent of labour force
There were 3.3 million insured employees or self-employed persons in Finland at year-end 2017. Almost 2.4 million of them were working. The number of people in active employment was up by 40,000 from 2016.
The numbers of employed women and men were almost the same. In the public sector three out of four employees were women. The public sector accounted for almost 30 per cent of active employees.
The earnings data presented here are gross figures for employees and they include the employee’s pension contribution.