Health-related factors account for only a part of the differences in working-age population’s work participation


Work participation is not defined only by health-related limitations or incapacity for work, according to a Finnish Institute of Occupational Health study. The data available in the Work-Life Knowledge service offers new insight into the work participation of the working-age population at national and wellbeing services county levels.

The working-age population is typically viewed by age group or diagnosis group and from the perspective of incapacity for work. A wider perspective directs the focus on work ability and work potential instead. There is a demand for a more diverse perspective if the aim is to increase work participation.

The study extensively reviewed factors related to work ability available in national registers, such as health, demographic factors, education, economic status and social factors. A total 14 groups were formed based on these factors. The research material describes the situation in 2021.

The average number of employment months for all groups is 8.7 per year. There is considerable variation between the average number of employment months of different groups.

The groups with different degrees of work ability also have different levels of work participation in different regions. The study shows that there are wellbeing services county-specific differences of several months in work participation. 

Regional differences may explain the situation in the labour market, but also the service system. The results offer an overview of certain regions and allow for planning how the work participation of various working-age population groups can be improved.

The results published in the Work-Life Knowledge service can be viewed nationally and compared by wellbeing services county. 

The study is part of the Work Ability Programme Extension project.

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