National survey: Finland

  • Survey name (EN): Quality of Work Life Survey
  • Survey name (orig): Työolotutkimus
  • Acronym: QWLS / FQWLS
  • Institute: Work Research Unit, Statistics Finland
  • Type of organisation: Governmental statistical office
  • Dates (year) of each edition of the survey: 1977, 1984, 1990, 1997, 2003
  • Next forecast edition: 2008 (preliminary plan)
  • Objective: The objective of the Quality of Work Life Surveys has been to produce data on the state of the working life to support labour policy decisions and development of work communities. The surveys aim to provide for public debate information about Finnish people’s views concerning their working conditions and about how these conditions have changed. They also supply material for the research, training and communications activities related to working conditions which take place in diverse quarters of society.

  • Territorial scope: National

  • Population:
    Age: 15 - 64 years
    Employment status: Employees whose normal weekly working hours amount to at least five hours
    Population size: The Finnish wage and salary earning population comprises some 2,000,000 employees

  • Sample:
    Register used for sample: The sample of QWLS is elaborated from the sample of monthly Labour Force Survey. As for the sample of LFS, it is a random selection from the population register applied by region in proportion to population weights.
    Sampling strategy: The sampling for QWLS is done in connection of LFS rounds. In 2003, the target population was selected from persons aged 15 to 64 among the respondents in the third, fourth and fifth rotation groups of the Labour Force Survey and in the fourth and fifth rotation groups of the November Labour Force Survey. The inclusion in the sample of the Quality of Work Life Survey from among the interviewees of the Labour Force Survey was not established until during the Labour Force Survey interview. The wage and salary earners whose normal weekly working hours amounted to at least five hours were selected from the population of the Labour Force Survey into the sample of the Quality of Work Life Survey, and were invited to participate in it.
    For the sampling technique of Labour Force Survey, see the question above.
    Sample size:
    - Working Conditions Survey 1977. Sample size: 7,500 employed persons (incl.self-employed), 5,778 wage and salary earners in data. Response rate: 91%
    - Working Conditions Survey 1984. Sample size: 5,000 wage and salary earners, 4,502 persons in data. Response rate: 89%
    - Quality of Work Life Survey 1990. Sample size: 5,000 employed persons (incl. self-employed), 3,502 wage and salary earners in data. Response: rate 85%
    - Quality of Work Life Survey 1997. Sample size: 3,800 wage and salary earners, 2,979 persons in data. Response rate: 79%
    - Quality of Work Life Survey 2003. Sample size: 5,300 wage and salary earners, 4,104 persons in data. Response rate: 78%

  • Quality control procedures: Questionnaire design; fieldwork monitoring; data processing and weighting; public availability of survey documentation; questionnaire translation (where relevant); pre-test; follow up interviews

  • Interviews:
    Type of interviews: Face to face
    Location: Interview at home

  • Questionnaire targeted to: Workers
  • Other information:
    1) Method of triangulation, i.e. combining of quantitative and qualitative methods have been used since the Survey 1997 in designing the questionnaire as well as as a tool for further analysis
    2) Since the QWLS is done in connection with Labour Force Survey, all the information obtained from the interviewees already during the LFS interview is available for the data of the Quality of Work Life Survey. In the interview of the QWLS there is no need any more to ask about the interviewee´s occupation, his/her normal weekly working hours, etc.
    3) The group that proved problematic in determining the sample for the QWLS were the target persons from whom interviews were not obtained for the LFS due to refusal or non-contact (n=502 in 2003). The age and gender of these persons were known but not whether they met the other criteria (employment status, weekly working hours) of the sample of QWLS, since these factors would have been detected only during the LFS interview.
    However, the proportions by age and gender of the persons meeting the criteria on inclusion in the sample of the QWLS could be calculated from the target persons of the LFS from whom interviews were obtained. This information makes it possible to estimate what proportion of the persons from whom even LFS interviews were not obtained would have also belonged to the sample of the QWLS, and what proportion represented overcoverage. These estimates were calculated by 5-year age groups by gender. Estimated in this way, the sample size of the QWLS was 5,270 persons and the response rate was 77.9%.
  • Subjects considered: Occupational safety and health (OSH) management; exposure to physical agents (noise, radiation, vibration, etc.); exposure to chemical agents; exposure to biological agents; safety at the workplace; physical workload; mental strain; work organisation issues; skills and competence development; job satisfaction/commitment; work-life balance; working time; pay; social environment (participation and consultation, equal opportunities, violence at work, etc.); occupational and health outcomes; work experience; experiences of unemployment; labour market position; conditions of employement (special packages of questions for fixed-term employees); absences from work.
  • References: See list of references.
  • Website:
  • Information public/accessible: It is possible to buy the data of QWLS for purposes of scientific research. When considering the granting of a licence to use basic data, account is taken of the applicant's possibility to obtain reliable results on the basis of said material. If authorization is deemed to be appropriate, particular attention is paid to data protection issues
  • Co-ordinators/contacts:

    Dr. Anna-Maija Lehto
    Head of Unit
    Work Research Unit
    Statistics Finland
    Tel. +358 9 1734 3223

    Hanna Sutela
    Work Research Unit
    Statistics Finland
    Tel. +358 9 1734 2907