Tavoitteena syrjimätön työelämä: tutkittua tietoa nykytilasta ja keinoja yhdenvertaisuuden edistämiseksi

Date of project : 2020 - 2022

The study looks into discrimination in the Finnish labour market. The part carried out by VATT/PT comprises a literature review focusing on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing discrimination in recruitment. The project also works together with the City of Helsinki on an experiment of reducing discrimination and will evaluate its effectiveness. The project part conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare additionally examines the prevalence and situation picture of discrimination using a number of different Finnish registers and survey data sets.


The right to live without discrimination is enshrined in both international human rights treaties and Finland’s national legislation. The principle of equality is defined in the Constitution of Finland, and it refers to a prohibition of discrimination and the equality of people before the law. Under the Non-Discrimination Act (section 6), nobody may be discriminated against on the basis of age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. In addition to the Constitution of Finland and the Non-Discrimination Act, the Criminal Code and the Act on Equality Between Women and Men also add detail to the prohibition of discrimination.

However, population surveys and experimental studies have shown that discrimination occurs in different situations in working life. In the meantime the Finnish labour force is becoming increasingly diverse, adding to the potential social costs of discrimination. To make efficient use of all productive resources and to reduce inequalities caused by discrimination, decision-makers should strive to assess the scope of discrimination in working life and the means by which it can be reduced. Discrimination in working life has a significant impact on the well-being of those discriminated against and on their ability to pursue their preferred careers. More information on discrimination is needed, as the Finnish Non-Discrimination Ombudsman’s Annual Report (2018) estimates that a large part of discrimination remains hidden. There are also obvious shortcomings in recognizing multiple discrimination (Ministry of Justice 2019).

This study comprises two key sections which aim to produce information on discrimination in working life and ways in which equality can be promoted for policy-makers. The first part examined the prevalence and current situation of discrimination in working life on the basis of statistical, official and population survey data. Discrimination was examined from the perspective of its different grounds (including age, gender, origin, nationality, language, religion, disability, health or other personal reasons). The second part looked specifically into discrimination in job-seeking and recruitment.

The study also presents conclusions on discrimination and the effectiveness of possible anti-discrimination measures based on research literature. It additionally describes how anonymous recruitment, in particular, can be used in Finnish recruitment systems and how its effects can be examined comprehensively.

Responsible researcher: Tuomo Virkola, [email protected], +358 295 519 464

Tuomo Virkola Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS)Income distribution and inequalityLabour marketsLabour markets and educationTuomo Virkola