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Published: 31 December 2008

Finnish residents know foreign languages, use a computer and follow professional literature

More and more Finnish residents know foreign languages

In 2006 as many as 85 per cent of Finnish residents reckoned they knew some foreign language. This share has grown steadily since 1995 when persons with knowledge of a foreign language numbered some 72 per cent of the 18 to 64-year-olds. Young people know languages better than others and women know languages more often than men. Nearly all persons aged under 35 had knowledge of at least one foreign language.

The most and best known language was English; 82 per cent of Finnish residents reported having at least some knowledge of English. Swedish as a foreign language was known by 65 per cent and German by one-third of the 18 to 64-year-olds. French, Russian and Spanish were known by some 6–11 per cent of the 18 to 64-year-olds in 2006.

Nearly 90 per cent use a computer

Nearly 90 per cent of all 18 to 64-year-olds, or 2.9 million Finnish residents, use a computer. Eighty-seven per cent of men and 90 per cent of women use a computer. The use of a computer was measured differently in the Adult Education Surveys of 2000 and 2006, but the increase in use can be estimated at 20 percentage points. During the current millennium the over 54-year-olds have increased their use of a computer the most; already 70 per cent of them reported using a computer. In 2000 the respective proportion was roughly one-half of this. In 2006, nearly all under 35-year-olds and as many as 94 per cent of the 35 to 44-year-olds reported using a computer.

Computer use (incl. Internet) by age in 2006 (population aged 18 to 64)

Computer use (incl. Internet) by age in 2006 (population aged 18 to 64)

In 2000–2006 the use of a computer has increased most among those who used it the least. The increase has been particularly rapid among pensioners, but the rate of use of a computer among agricultural entrepreneurs, employees and other entrepreneurs has also increased clearly. 57 per cent of the pensioners, 79 per cent of the agricultural entrepreneurs and 80 per cent of the employees reported using a computer in 2006. In 2000 the respective proportions were some thirty percentage points smaller.

Need for IT training has decreased

The increase in the rate of use of a computer and improved user skills are reflected also by a decrease in the need for training in information technology. In 2000 every fourth and in 2006 only 9 per cent of the 18 to 64-year-olds felt they needed more adult education specifically in the field of IT. Participation in training has also decreased. In 2006 some 10 per cent of the 18 to 64-year-olds participated in adult education related to information technology. In 2000 the respective proportion was 14 per cent.

Professional literature is followed actively

In 2006 eighty-four per cent of the 18 to 64-year-old employees reported following some professional publication. Magazines published by unions or central organisations as well as other publications in one’s own professional field were followed the most. The following of professional publications has remained on level with the year 2000.

One in three has good opportunities of attending personnel training

More than two-thirds of employees estimated they had at least reasonable opportunities of obtaining employer subsidised training which supports their professional skills or advances their career. Every third employee aged 18 to 64 estimated their opportunities as good. Their number is 5 percentage points higher than at the beginning of the 2000s.

In addition, every third employee estimated they had plenty of opportunity to influence which kind of training their employer subsidises or organises. This number is 7 percentage points higher than at the beginning of the 2000s.

These data are based on the Finnish Adult Education Survey 2006 carried out jointly by Statistics Finland, the Ministry of Education and Eurostat. For this survey a total of 4,370 persons aged 18 to 64 were interviewed in February-June of 2006.

Source: Adult Education Survey 2006, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kirsti Pohjanp狎 (09) 1734 2604, Helena Niemi (09) 1734 2488, Timo Ruuskanen (09) 1734 3620

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Tables in databases

Updated 31.12.2008

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Participation in adult education [e-publication].
ISSN=2489-6926. Language skills, IT use, trade literature and training opportunities 2006. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 27.11.2022].
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