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Published: 18 October 2017

Employees of small enterprises participate in personnel training more than before

Corrected on 26 March 2020. The corrections are indicated in red.

Participation in course format personnel training arranged by enterprises has increased over the past decade, especially in enterprises with 10 to 49 employees. In large enterprises with at least 250 employees, participation has remained unchanged. These data derive from Statistics Finland's Continuing Vocational Training Survey concerning 2015. The survey is repeated every five years in a uniform way in different European countries.

Participation in course training by size category of enterprise in 2005, 2010 and 2015, % of enterprises’ wage and salary earners

Participation in course training by size category of enterprise in 2005, 2010 and 2015, % of enterprises’ wage and salary earners

In a smaller workplace the possibilities to participate in personnel training are clearly poorer than for employees of a large enterprise. The difference between participation possibilities has, however, narrowed in the past decade. The participation rate in course training in large enterprises (over 250 employees) has remained almost unchanged since 2005 but it has grown in small and medium sized enterprises. In 2005, the participation rate in small enterprises (10 to 49 employees) was 24 per cent and in large enterprises (over 250 employees) it was 47 per cent. In 2015, the respective figures were 38 and 49 per cent.

Seventy-eight per cent of enterprises had organised course format training. Of all employees in enterprises, 44 per cent had participated in course format personnel training during 2015. The increase from 2010 amounts to close on four percentage points. Previously, women’s participation rate has been slightly higher than men’s but in 2015 the participation rate of women and men was equal.

The variation by industry in the participation in personnel training was large both between industries and over time. The needs and possibilities for arranging personnel training are highly industry-dependent. Both on the labour market in general and in individual enterprises, cyclical and annual variations are large. For example, heavy investments in reforms and related training in a particular financial year can well be followed by a very slow training period.

Number of training hours has decreased

Thus the share of participants in training has risen slightly but the amount of training received by employee has decline somewhat. In 2010, there were nine hours of course training per employee when including all employees in enterprises and in 2015 the amount was eight hours. If, instead of all employees, only wage and salary earners that participated in course training are examined, the number of training hours was 19 hours per participant.

The amount of training received was the same for women and men and the change was also similar both by gender and in the two main industries (manufacturing and services).

In large enterprises with at least 250 employees, the number of training hours per employee was 9.5, which is over two hours more than in smaller enterprises.

Studying while working and online studying increased

In addition to participation in course training, the survey examines participation in other (not course format) training. Other training must be planned, organised and have a clear objective for learning. Occasional learning while working is not included.

Training and learning are becoming more versatile and, simultaneously, the difference between traditional training and other competence development is becoming blurred. Enterprises’ investments in course format personnel training has remained almost unchanged in recent years but especially various formats of studying while working, as well as self-learning, distance learning and online studying have correspondingly increased. This is also likely to be the trend in future.

Share of participants in other than course format training in 2010 and 2015, % of enterprises’ wage and salary earners

  2010 2015 Change
% % Percentage unit
Studying while working 11.9 18.9 + 7.0
Job rotation, assignments 2.1 4.1 + 2.0
Conferences, workshops 12.5 12.6 + 0.1
Learning circles, quality circles 5.4 3.4 – 2.0
Self-learning, distance learning, online studying 9.0 17.3 + 8.3

For these formats of training, only the number of participants was asked, so there are no volume data on the number of training hours for such trainings. It should also be noted that the same persons may have participated in different formats of training. Similar overlapping also applies to those who have participated in course format training and in other formats of training.

The Act on Financially-Supported Development of Professional Skills entered into force at the beginning of 2014, based on which enterprises can deduct in taxation 50 per cent of employees’ average daily pay with indirect costs multiplied by the number of actual training days. The hope was that this training support would encourage enterprises to increase their investments in personnel training. According to the results of the Continuing Vocational Training Survey, employees’ possibilities to attend course format training has increased in small and medium sized enterprises but the amount of training per employee has not grown, however.

The survey covers enterprises in the private sector with at least ten employees in 2015, excluding agriculture and forestry, education, and health and social work. Altogether 1,579 enterprises in Finland included in the data collection for the survey responded and they represent 17,359 enterprises and their 1,050,000 employees. The data collection was conducted in the same form in 30 European countries.

The data collection for the survey is conducted approximately every fifth year and it is used to describe employer-sponsored training, the numbers of participants in course training, and the number of personnel training days received, the content and arrangers of the training, as well as the costs incurred from the training. In addition to course format training, the survey also examines other training formats, enterprises' training strategies and the obstacles for organising training.

Source: CVTS, Continuing vocational training survey, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Tarja Seppänen 029 551 3220,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (293.9 kB)


Appendix tables

Updated 18.10.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): CVTS, Continuing vocational training [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-0003. Participation in course-format training 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.7.2024].
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