Health & wellbeing

The state of Finnish work well-being and capacity continues to decline, according to the latest report by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The report reveals that there has been a mild decline in the investment in work, while the incidence of burnout symptoms has increased, particularly among lower-educated employees. The younger generation is also experiencing poorer work well-being. Researchers call on companies to change their approach by improving working conditions and job resources.

The latest report from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health shows that there is still a slight decline in Finnish work well-being. The study surveyed 480 Finnish employees aged between 22 and 66 who responded to four surveys.

The experience of individual work capacity has declined simultaneously as burnout symptoms increased. Slightly more than one in four respondents experienced burnout symptoms in the latter half of 2022. On average, work engagement was only experienced once a week. Job resources, such as a sense of community and feedback, have not improved and remain at the same level as they were in the summer of 2021.

"Changes for the worse are not dramatic, but it is unfortunate that there has been no improvement," says Janne Kaltiainen, a specialist researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. "It would have been desirable for companies to invest more in supporting work well-being, as the COVID-19 crisis recedes."

The study found that younger respondents had weaker work well-being and fewer job resources. For example, work engagement increased by an average of 3.9% for every ten years of age.

"Our research shows that work well-being, especially for young people, can be improved by investing in community, recognition, and recognition of success in the workplace. Now is the time for companies to demonstrate their ability to promote work engagement and combat burnout," encourages Professor Jari Hakanen.

Educational levels polarize work well-being experiences

Development trends in work well-being differ significantly based on education level, which could contribute to greater inequality.

For example, the rise in burnout symptoms does not affect university-educated employees. They had the most work engagement and job satisfaction, as well as better work capacity than others. One in five university graduates has an increased risk of burnout, while one in three basic and secondary school graduates does.

"Socio-economic disparities in work well-being have existed before, but they appear to be increasing. Working conditions and workload explain work well-being, while education and age explain the kind of working conditions people end up in," says Janne Kaltiainen.

Overall life satisfaction has also declined, especially among lower-educated workers. This observation may reflect changes in lifestyle caused by the rising cost of living. The majority of respondents reported a decreased sense of security.

"It is a heavy burden on our society that work well-being continues to decline," Kaltiainen says. "We need to focus on changing our approach to work and to improving job resources and working conditions."