3 Working hours in 2017

3.1 Working hours have changed slowly

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

Usual weekly working hours refer to an employed person’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.

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

Annual hours actually worked per employed are an imputed concept, which is obtained by dividing the number of hours worked by all employed in main and secondary jobs during the year by the annual average number of employed. This produces the average annual hours actually worked per employed. The average annual hours actually worked per employed are calculated in the same way for 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 will decrease. Working hours also vary by industry and occupation, as well as by employer sector. Working hours change quite slowly.

3.2 Most common usual working week is 35 to 40 hours

The vast majority of employees, 71 per cent, worked a usual week of 35 to 40 hours in 2017. Around ten per cent of employees worked a usual week of over 40 hours. Nineteen per cent of employees worked a usual week of under 35 hours. The most typical usual weekly working hours for those working a short week were 30 to 34 hours.

Long usual weekly working hours were clearly more widespread among self-employed persons and unpaid family workers. For 41 per cent of them, usual weekly working hours were over 40 hours. Only 27 per cent of self-employed persons and unpaid family workers had usual weekly working hours of 35 to 40. A short working time of under 35 weekly hours was more common for self-employed persons (30%) than employees (19%). (Figure 16.)

Figure 16. Average usual weekly working hours of employed persons in their main job by status in employment in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Figure 16. Average usual weekly working hours of employed persons in their main job by status in employment in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Differences between different employee groups in usual weekly working hours are most clearly visible in the share of those with long weekly working hours. In 2017, clearly the most common working hours in all groups were 35 to 40 hours per week, but 17 per cent of upper-level employees usually worked over 40 hours per week, while the corresponding share among lower-level employees was six per cent. One in five lower-level employees and manual workers had short usual working hours of under 35 hours per week. Short working weeks were less usual among upper-level employees. (Figure 17.)

Figure 17. Average usual weekly working hours of employees in their main job by socio-economic group in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Figure 17. Average usual weekly working hours of employees in their main job by socio-economic group in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74, %

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

In 2017, 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. Working hours were considerably longer for self-employed persons (including unpaid family workers) than for employees: the average for usual weekly working hours was 39.5 hours per week and hours actually worked per week were, on average, 38.8 hours. Compared to usual weekly working hours, hours actually worked per week are reduced by holidays and other absences but on the other hand, are lengthened by worked overtime hours.

As in previous years, men's usual and actual weekly working hours in full-time were longer than women’s in 2017. By contrast, both the usual and actual weekly working hours of women working part-time were longer than for men working part-time. (Table 2.)

Table 2. Average of employees’ usual weekly working hours and hour actually worked per week in full-time and part-time work in their main job by sex in 2017, aged 15 to 74

  Usual weekly working hours, hours/week Hours actually worked per week, hours/week
Full-time and part-time work total Full-time work Part-time work Full-time and part-time work total Full-time work Part-time work
Both sexes total 36.3 39.3 19.7 35.2 37.8 20.2
Males 38.0 40.0 18.5 37.0 38.8 19.3
Females 34.7 38.5 20.2 33.4 36.6 20.7

Among the occupational groups of employees in full-time employment, managers had the longest usual weekly working hours of 43.7 in 2017. In addition to managers, plant and machine operators, and assemblers, as well as craft and related trades workers had usual weekly working hours of over 40. Correspondingly, clerical support workers and those working in elementary occupations had the shortest usual weekly working hours. (Figure 18.)

Figure 18. Average usual weekly working hours of full-time employees in main job by occupation in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 18. Average usual weekly working hours of full-time employees in main job by occupation in 2017, persons aged 15 to 74

3.4 Annual hours actually worked per employee remained almost unchanged

Annual hours actually worked per employee (see definition in Section 3.1) was 1,601 hours in 2017, which was nearly the same amount than in the previous year. Annual hours actually worked per employed in the central government sector decreased from 2016. Annual hours actually worked per employed in the local government and the private sector only changed marginally. (Figure 19.)

In 2017, the number of annual hours actually worked per employed was 1488 hours among female employees and 1716 hours among male employees. The differences in men's and women's working hours is affected by that women's work relationships are more often part-time than men's. Sixty-three per cent of all employees working part-time were women in 2017. Family leaves also shorten women’s hours actually worked more than men’s.

Figure 19. Annual hours actually worked per employee by employer sector in 2003 to 2017, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 19. Annual hours actually worked per employee by employer sector in 2003 to 2017, persons aged 15 to 74

Source: Labour Force Survey 2017. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Ulla Hannula 029 551 2924, Pertti Taskinen 029 551 2690, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 12.4.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Employment and unemployment 2017, 3 Working hours in 2017 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2017/13/tyti_2017_13_2018-04-12_kat_003_en.html