OAJ’s demand that the salary level of employees in the education sector must be corrected using a salary programme is supported by a new survey on salaries conducted by Taloustutkimus.
Finns’ ideas and opinions about the starting salaries of class and early childhood education teachers were sought in a survey conducted by Taloustutkimus in December 2021.
According to respondents, a fair starting salary for an early childhood education teacher would be EUR 2,900 per month (response median). The current lower limit for the monthly salary of new early childhood education teachers is EUR 2,420. So, there is a disparity of nearly EUR 500 between the starting salary and the opinion of the respondents.
According to respondents, a fair starting salary for a class teacher would be EUR 3,000 per month (response median). The current lower limit for the monthly salary of class teachers is EUR 2,745 in category two, which amounts to a difference of 255 euros from the opinion of respondents.
“The results clearly demonstrate that public opinion also supports OAJ’s demand that the salaries of class and early childhood education teachers must be increased considerably. The required level of education and the arduousness of the work must be reflected in salaries,” says OAJ President Olli Luukkainen.
The current salary level of teachers decreases the attractiveness of the sector
Sixty-five per cent of survey respondents also thought the current salary level of class and early childhood education teachers has a negative effect on the attractiveness of teaching and education work.
“The agreement negotiations this spring concern not only employment conditions but also the attractiveness of the entire education sector as well as the future of the sector. The OAJ survey published last autumn revealed that over half of teachers are considering a career change. There has been a shortage of early childhood education teachers in particular, and now there is already a shortage of employees across many other groups of teachers. The salaries and working conditions must reflect the arduousness of the work and the required level of education,” says Petri Lindroos, Negotiations Director at OAJ.
The work of teachers and education are valued
The results of the survey support the view that Finns value the work, training and competence of teachers. Eighty-two per cent of Finns consider it important that teachers are required to have completed a university degree (normally a master’s degree) and teacher training.
“It is wonderful to see that teachers and their level of competence are trusted by the public. Teaching and other demanding public sector expert and managerial positions must be competitive in relation to the private sector. The starting salaries of those with a master’s degree should be increased to EUR 3,000 per month at the minimum. For many teacher groups, this should be achieved already during this round of negotiations and, with a salary programme, after multiple rounds of negotiations for all teacher groups,” says Luukkainen.
OAJ is targeting a salary programme
The salary programme that OAJ is aiming for in the negotiations is a long-term solution to improving the salaries of teachers working in the public sector. A salary programme is needed because the salaries of those working in the education sector do not develop in the same way as the salaries of private sector employees. This is because there is no wage drift in public sector jobs.
Suomalaisten mielikuvia opettajien palkoista 30 December 2021/Taloustutkimus. Taloustutkimus conducted a survey on behalf of OAJ on the opinions of Finns regarding the salaries of teachers. The data was collected via an Internet panel on 17–21 December 2021. The survey was targeted at people aged 25–60, and the number of respondents was 1,008. The responses were weighted by age, sex and place of residence to represent the general population.
Text: Henna Honkalo
Image: Leena Koskela