6 Working hours in 2012

6.1 Working hours change slowly

The concepts of working hours used in statistics are usual weekly working hours, hours actually worked per week and hours actually worked per employed.

Usual weekly working hours refer to an employee's normal or average weekly working hours in the main job. Regular paid or unpaid overtime is included in the usual weekly working hours of employees. The average of usual weekly working hours is influenced by the form of working hours, i.e. whether full-time or part-time work is concerned.

Hours actually worked per week is the number of hours employed persons have worked in the survey week. Hours actually worked per week are separately inquired about in respect of the main job and secondary job. Paid or unpaid overtime hours are also included in it. On the other hand, holidays, weekdays off and absences for other reasons (e.g. sickness) reduce the hours actually worked per week.

Hours actually worked per employed is an imputed concept, which is obtained by dividing the number of hours worked by all employed during the year by the annual average number of employed. This produces the average hours actually worked per employed. The average hours actually worked per employed is calculated in the same way for employed employees.

Working hours and hours worked fluctuate according to changes in the employment and in the structure of the employee population. For instance, if part-time work becomes more widespread than full-time work, the average weekly working hours decrease. Working hours also vary by industry and occupation, as well as by employer sector. Working hours change quite slowly.

6.2 Commonest working week is 35 to 40 hours

The vast majority (72%) of employees worked a regular week of 35 to 40 hours in 2012. Variations between different employee groups were fairly small. Only one in four of self-employed persons and unpaid family workers worked a regular week of 35 to 40 hours. (Figure 15.)

Figure 15. Share of persons working a regular week of 35 to 40 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

Figure 15. Share of persons working a regular week of 35 to 40 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

Approximately 18 per cent of employees had a short working week of under 35 hours. Around one in five of lower-level employees worked short hours. Short working weeks were less widespread among upper-level employees. Those with a regular short working week most typically worked 30 to 34 hours per week. Every fourth self-employed person and unpaid family worker did a short working week. (Figure 16.)

Figure 16. Share of persons working a short week of 1 to 34 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

Figure 16. Share of persons working a short week of 1 to 34 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

Ten per cent of employees worked a long week of over 40 hours. Among all employees, upper-level employees most often worked regularly long hours. Around 18 per cent of them did long weekly working hours. Long usual weekly working hours were most widespread among self-employed persons and unpaid family workers, of whom 46 per cent regularly worked a long week of over 40 hours. (Figure 17.)

Figure 17. Share of persons with long usual weekly working hours of over 40 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

Figure 17. Share of persons with long usual weekly working hours of over 40 hours in the main job by socio-economic group in 2012, %

6.3 Men’s working week in full-time employment longer than women’s

In 2012, employees' average usual weekly working hours were 36.3 hours in their main job and their hours actually worked per week were 35.2 hours in their main job. The longest weekly hours were worked by self-employed persons (including unpaid family workers), whose average usual weekly working hours in 2012 totalled 42.1 and hours actually worked per week 41.5 hours. Hours actually worked per week are reduced by holidays and other absences and increased by worked overtime hours.

When examining employees' average usual weekly working hours in their main job, usual weekly working hours and hours actually worked per week in full-time employment were among men longer than among women in 2012 (Table 2).

Table 2. Average of employees’ usual weekly working hours and hours actually worked per week in the main job in full-time and part-time work in 2012

  Usual weekly working hours Hours actually worked per week
Full-time work Part-time work Full-time work Part-time work
Both Sexes, total 39.0 20.2 37.6 20.5
Males 39.9 18.9 38.7 19.7
Females 38.0 20.7 36.4 20.8

The average usual weekly working hours of managers in full-time work were around 43.3 hours (Figure 18). Apart from them, only plant and machine operators, and assemblers did a long working week of over 40 hours. The working week was shortest for clerical support workers, and for service and sales workers.

Figure 18. Average usual weekly working hours of full-time employees in the main job by occupation in 2012

Figure 18. Average usual weekly working hours of full-time employees in the main job by occupation in 2012

6.4 Hours actually worked remained more or less unchanged in 2012

In the private sector and in central government, the hours actually worked per employed (see explanation of concept above) have been almost equal in recent years. In the local government sector, the hours actually worked per employed were clearly lower than in the other sectors, and in 2012 they went down somewhat while the hours remained unchanged in the private and central government sectors. (Figure 19.)

Figure 19. Employees' hours actually worked per employed by employer sector in 2005-2012

Figure 19. Employees' hours actually worked per employed by employer sector in 2005-2012

In 2012, the number of hours actually worked per employed was 226 hours lower among female employees than among male employees. For instance, women work more often part-time than men. Two-thirds of all employees working part-time are women. Family leaves also shorten women’s hours actually worked more than men’s.


Source: Labour Force Survey 2012. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Pertti Taskinen 09 1734 2690, Joanna Viinikka 09 1734 3796, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 5.3.2013

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Employment and unemployment 2012, 6 Working hours in 2012 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 19.4.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2012/13/tyti_2012_13_2013-03-05_kat_006_en.html