While Finland has traditionally lagged behind other Nordic countries in the employment rates of its older population, recent data reveals significant progress, particularly among women aged 50-59, where Finland now matches Sweden as a leader in the region. This insight comes from Hanna Sutela, a senior researcher at the Statistics Centre, in her latest blog post for the Tieto&trendit web magazine.

Public discourse often points out Finland's relatively low employment rates among the older population compared to other Nordic countries. However, Sutela emphasizes that this is only part of the picture. Since the 1990s, employment rates for Finns aged 55 to 64 have surged remarkably. In contrast, Finland still trails behind Sweden and especially Iceland when considering women aged 60-64. "Even in this age group, our ranking was not the lowest; we are almost at the same level as Norway and clearly ahead of Denmark," Sutela writes.

The situation is less favorable for men, where Finland's employment rates are comparatively lower. However, it's crucial to recognize that Finland started from a disadvantaged position, with a significant drop in employment rates among the aged during the economic downturn of the early 1990s. Since then, there has been substantial recovery.

Employment rates for women aged 55 to 64 have more than doubled since the mid-1990s, and nearly doubled for men, showing a robust upward trend that has continued through the pandemic years and the economic slowdown of 2022. This growth trend is also evident among those aged 65 to 74, despite a minor setback in 2020.

Sutela speculates on the factors behind these improvements: "It inevitably comes to mind that we have done many things right—whether it's reforms in the pension system, workplace development programs, the education system, something else, or all of these combined."

This development highlights Finland's evolving approach to workforce participation among its aging population, signaling not only a recovery from past economic challenges but also a progressive stance in integrating older individuals into the workforce.