Membership in employee organisations

Updated: 5 Oct 2018
Next update: 30 Sep 2019

Indicator information is based on the annual working life barometer of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Professionally organised persons are members of a trade union. Some wage or salary earners are members of unemployment funds only, either private ones or those operating in connection with trade unions.


Professional organisation became more common from the early 1990s, when the employment situation worsened. For women, the change was as high as ten percentage points between 1990 and 1997, for men, the growth was smaller. Over the 2000s, changes in professional organisation have been small according to the Working Life Barometer, although the economic situation has been weak in recent years and unemployment has been growing. Economic security against unemployment has, in turn, been sought more often from membership only to an unemployment fund. However, the combined share of members of trade unions and unemployment funds among wage and salary earners has been growing in the past few years. In 2016, around 74 per cent of wage and salary earners belonged to a trade union and, in addition, some 16 per cent belonged only to an unemployment fund.

Among wage and salary earners, women belong to trade unions more often than men, while men are members of only unemployment funds more frequently than women. In 2016, in all 92 per cent of women had safeguarded themselves against unemployment either through a trade union or a separate unemployment fund while the share for men was 88 per cent.