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A man working in the private sector in an industry-related job can earn even 1,000 euros more than a woman working a private sector job in the service branch, for example, as a hairdresser. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Today is the final payday for women in Finland. That is, if we compare the average women’s salary with men’s.

During regular working hours, women earn in average 83.4 per cent from the salary of men. In a year, the difference totals to about 7,600 euros. The numbers are based on a wage-level index for the quarter, released by the Official Statistics of Finland. The speed of the narrowing gap between the wage differences in Finland is – extremely. Slow.

In fact, so slow-paced that in theory we can observe women working from the beginning of November till December 31 without a pay.

For decades, women’s euro has been 80 cents, and the gap between the earnings expands cumulatively during the career. While women in their 20s earn about 250 euros less than the opposite sex, the wage difference reaches its peak in the age of 60. Then, a man on average earns as much as 1,000 euros more than a woman.

Reija Lilja, the research director at the Labour Institute for Economic Research, said that about half of the wage differences are related to professional differentiation. “Women and men are positioned in different jobs in different trades.”

In Finland, the division between men’s and women’s professions is strong. Even though, women are slowly beginning to apply for traditional men’s occupations, men are less willing to apply for jobs dominated by women.

For example, more than a fourth of the graduates from the Police University College are women, while in the ’70s women accounted for about five per cent of the police graduates. Respectively, only about five per cent of the nurses are men.

For some reason, the pay is less in many professions dominated by women when comparing with men-dominated professions where a similar education and know-how are required.


While women in their 20s earn about 250 euros less than men, the wage difference reaches its peak in the age of 60. Then, a man on average earns as much as 1,000 euros more than the opposite sex. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

According to Lilja, one of the dominating reasons for wage differences is the fact that women more often work in the public sector while men tend to apply for jobs in private companies. In general, industry-related jobs in the private sector pay more, according to the statistics.

A man working in a pulp and paper factory earns more than a nurse even though the education of a nurse is formally higher and the job is considered as responsible. In numbers: a nurse who has worked for 10 years earns about 3,100 euros per month. A man working in the paper factory earns about 3,300 euros.

The wage difference between professions dominated by men and women in the private sector is also significant. According to the statistics, a carpenter earns about 3,000 euros per month while a hairdresser brings in about 2,000 euros.

On Friday, Women’s Payday is observed across the country as a reminder of the aim towards wage equality. According to Leila Kostiainen, the secretary general at the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK, Women’s Payday is moving forward with the pace of a day per year.

“If the Women’s Payday moves forward one day in a year, then the wage equality is accomplished after 66 years, that is in the year 2078,” Kostiainen said in an interview in 2012.

[divider]Want to learn more?[/divider] The Finnish Confederation of Professionals SSTK has observed Women’s Payday from the year 2011. Events related to Women’s Payday are arranged across the country. In Helsinki, various women’s organisations arrange an event of speeches where some members of the parliament are expected to join. The event is held at Three Smiths Square at the intersection of Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie from 8-17.