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The YTN Associations focuses on the improvement of the wage level and employment terms of their members employed by associations, organisations and foundations. We influence, negotiate and offer expert and peer support for the Akava members of organisations.

The activities of the Associations started in 2009. The entity is challenging because the scope of activities is very wide and fragmentary. The Associations does not have uniform employment terms. The employers in the Associations do not generally specify the senior salaried employees as their own personnel group; instead all are either salaried employees or experts.

However, the group performing challenging expert tasks and parallel to senior salaried employees is clearly identified. Akava members, therefore, often work in management, administration, finance, communications, design, project and special expert jobs.

Significance of the Associations

The work done by associations is a significant part of the Finnish civic society. Associations do notable lobbying and offer citizens a way to participate in the actions of the society. Social capital, sense of social community and well-being are created in the associations’ work.

The challenge of the work is the constant change and fast growth. The activities of associations are often such that cannot be offered by the public or private sector. More and more tasks may also in future be transferred to the third sector from the public sector. The growing role of associations must be recognised in the appreciation and employment terms of the association work.

Association employees are required to have multi-competence. In addition to the substance, they should master project competence, matters relating to finance, administration and communications, networking, leadership etc. Often, work is performed with volunteers and the activities are directed by a trust administration. The financing forms of the activities vary, and the funding may be uncertain, project like.

Despite the challenging nature, the sector generally has a strong pull, which is enhanced by a strong commitment to the objectives of an association. Work is often social and independent, which are seen as attractions of the sector.

Typical for the third sector employment market is:

  • expert dominance
  • female dominance
  • large proportion of part-time employees
  • small workplaces
  • large proportion of employed
  • working together with volunteers


Source: Ruuskanen, Selander, Anttila: Palkkatyössä kolmannella sektorilla, publications by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, Työ ja yrittäjyys 20/2013

Facts of the Associations

  • The members of YTN member unions work in over 1,800 different associations, which are of very different types. All in all, approximately 6,000 YTN union members are employed by the Associations.
  • The salary level of the Associations is on average lower and the remuneration based on performance is less often used than in most other YTN industries.
  • Fixed-term employment relationships are more common in the association industry than in other YTN industries. Grey working hours and travelling work are slightly more common. Telecommuting is very common.
  • In 2018, there were approximately 105,316 registered associations in Finland, of which the majority was small associations operated by volunteers.
  • The largest association groups in Finland are the following:
Largest association groups                  Associations                   Members
Culture and hobby associations 28,000 5,000,000
Social and health associations 13,000 1,000,000
Trade and business associations 12,000 4,500,000
Associations concentrated on civil society
and lobbying
11,000 3,000,000
Educational and research associations 4,500 1,000,000


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