Salary survey of members of Suomen Ekonomit: salaries increased by 3.8% – behind salary increases is a factor whose importance is increasing year by year 

According to a recent salary survey, the median salary of business school graduates in 2023 was EUR 5,603 per month. Salary was increased for 78% of respondents.

Salaries were increased as follows: 

In the Helsinki economic area
median income EUR 6,000/month             
+4.9% compared to the previous year 

In the rest of the country
median income EUR 5,179/month             
+4.02% compared to the previous year 

In the private sector
median income EUR 5,800/month             
+5.07% compared to the previous year 

In the government sector
median income EUR 5,200/month             
+2% compared to the previous year 

In the municipal sector
median income EUR 5,200/month             
+4% compared to the previous year 

The general increase brings ‘interest on interest’ 

More business school graduates had received a salary increase than before. Now 78% of respondents say their salary has risen in the past year, compared to 72% a year ago.  

This phenomenon is caused by general increases in collective agreements. Well over half, 65%, had received a salary increase due to the general increase. Last year, the corresponding figure was 54%, and one year back, 48%.  

‘If 25,000 business school graduates had each tried to negotiate at least a 3.5% pay rise for themselves, would they have succeeded? The general increases have had a big impact on the pay packet of business school graduates year after year. With last year’s inflation figures, purchasing power would have waned briskly without the general increases’, says Labour Market Director Riku Salokannel

Background information 

  •  4,364 respondents 
  • provides a cross-section of the salary level of the members of Suomen Ekonomit 
  • the survey asked about the income of those in full-time employment in October 2023 (incl. fringe benefits) 
  • 53% of respondents were experts, 18% middle management representatives and 22% in managerial positions 
  • 77% of respondents worked in the private sector 
  • 63% of respondents were women and 37% men 
  • the average number of years of work experience of respondents was 16.7 years 

Member, recent payroll data has now been updated to the Salary Radar

In the salary radar, you can view up-to-date pay levels by position, job function, industry, workplace location and number of employees, for example.

Salary survey of business school graduates: increase across the board – public sector catching up with private sector

The median salary of business school graduates in the Helsinki economic area is EUR 5,683 per month and EUR 4,800 in the rest of the country. The salary survey also revealed what has happened to the weekly workload of business school graduates and what they really think about remote work.

Suomen Ekonomit examines the salaries of its members annually. The information is based on survey data collected in November 2021. Salaries increased as follows: 

In the Helsinki economic area:
median income EUR 5,683 per month
+3.3% compared to the previous year

In the rest of the country:
median income EUR 4,800 per month
+2.1% compared to the previous year

In the private sector
median income EUR 5,450 per month
+2.8% compared to the previous year

In the government sector
median income EUR 4,850 per month
+3.8% compared to the previous year

In the municipal sector
median income EUR 4,878 per month
+3.8% compared to the previous year

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents said that their salary had increased in 2021. By far the most significant reason for a salary increase was the general increase in accordance with the collective agreement. Subsequently, the most common reasons were an increase based on individual performance, a new position or task in the current workplace and a change to a new job. 

“The general increase is important for business school graduates because it seems to be a key driver of salary increases. That is precisely why collective agreements are important,” says Riku Salokannel, Labour Market Director. 

Weekly working hours of business school graduates 

Business school graduates in full-time employment work an average of 41 hours per week. What is worrying is that 10% of those work 46 hours or more per week. 

“Fortunately, the number of working hours has not increased, but instead has stabilised around 41 hours. Those in managerial positions work the longest weekly hours. However, it should be remembered that directors also need time for recovery,” says Juha Oksanen, Research Manager. 

Respondents seem to enjoy their work: 85% are either very or quite satisfied with their work. 

The popularity of remote work is solid 

Remote work is remarkably common among business school graduates. One-third of respondents work completely remotely, one-third go to the workplace once or twice a week and slightly fewer than one-third go to the workplace 3–4 days a week. Only 6% do not work remotely at all. 

Although there has been public discussion about the disadvantages of remote work, business school graduates have embraced this arrangement. More than half of respondents are very satisfied with remote work and almost all the rest are quite satisfied. Only 4% are dissatisfied. 

Seven out of ten business school graduates think that work and leisure are well or fairly well balanced in their lives. One-third do not have a good work-life balance. 

Respondents think that well-being at work could be promoted by improving interaction in the workplace, developing working methods and tools and clarifying the goals of the organisation. 

Facts about the salary level survey: 

  • 3,120 respondents 
  • Provides a cross-section of the salary level of the members of Suomen Ekonomit 
  • The survey asked about the income of those in full-time employment in October 2021 (incl. fringe benefits) 
  • 50% of respondents were experts, 19% middle management representatives and 24% in managerial positions 
  • The average weekly working hours of respondents was 40.8 hours 
  • 59% of respondents were women and 41% men 
  • The average number of years of work experience of respondents was 15.6 years 

The Secret of negotiating a Fair Salary

How do you measure your own worth? Is it the number on your salary slip or is it something more? When you negotiate your salary, there are much more to think about than just euros.


Prepare for the Salary Negotiation

Start by looking at the salary range for someone with your level of experience and skills, in your industry. You can talk with people in your network who know the industry or even the company you are interviewing for. I also recommend that you use the Salary Radar at the member service.

Decide a range. Have in mind the number you would be happy with and also the bottom line – what is the lowest salary that you are satisfied with.

Think about your negotiation strategy. Do you start with asking a specific amount or do you offer a range? New research from Columbia Business School found that offering a range instead of an exact number, you open up room for discussion and you come across as flexible team player. But make sure the lower end of the range is the salary that you really want.

After you have given your salary request, be patient. Even if the recruiter does not answer you right away don’t start to hesitate and explain yourself – or worse, back down from your request. Be quiet and let the other side make the next move.

When you are at this stage you still have one important asset in your negotiation – your trade offs. Bring them in the negotiation table if the salary you are offered is below your happy number. If you want to have 3500 and the recruiter offers 3000 and you really want the job – that’s when the negotiation really begin!  

If you hesitate to start negotiating, remember that it takes time and money to find a great candidate to fill a position. If you are negotiating about salary, the company have already invested a lot in you and actually expect for you to negotiate!

What are your Trade offs?

One way of figuring out your trade offs is to write Must-have and Nice-to-have -lists. These help you in your salary negotiations but also when you choose which jobs or companies you want to pursue.

Must-haves are components that you definitely need or want to exist in your job or organisation. These might be such as working in a global company with international career opportunities or that the company supports sustainability. They may also be more practical things like the length of commute to work or possibility to work remotely.  

Nice-to-haves are things that are valuable to you but will not turn into deal breakers. For instance opportunities to learn skills that raise your own market value in the long term or chance for rapid career development may be such trade offs. Personal mentor or coach, language courses or even great extracurriculum programs may be some things that you value.

These Nice-to-haves are the trade offs that you can use when negotiating your salary. They are something so important to you that they may make up the lower salary level.

The other side of trade offs is what extra do you offer the employer. So be prepared to prove your value. If you gave a bold salary request you need to be ready to boldly explain why you are worth it. Prepare to give examples from your previous jobs, hobbies or studies what is unique in you way of working and what kind of results you have delivered – and are willing to deliver in this new job.

The Negotiation is not a One Time Opportunity

Keep in mind that if you don’t get the salary you originally wanted right now, you can ask for a job-performance review after e.g. six months. You will have a new chance to re-negotiate for a raise after proving yourself to the employer.

Text: Arja Parpala, Career Coach, Suomen Ekonomit

What should you pay a summer employee? Read our new pay recommendations and what students earned last summer

Our recommendations on the summer job pay of business students have once again been published. They also include a recommendation on the starting salary of recent graduates as well as thesis pay or remuneration.

Despite the summer job situation being worse than before during the past summer, the average monthly earnings of business school students increased from last year. However, annual income dropped at the same time.  

The earnings of female and male students matched on an annual level: the median annual income for both was €10,000. In 2019, the figure stood at €11,000.  

The median annual income for both was €10,000. In 2019, the figure stood at €11,000.  

As regards the comparison of salaries paid to men and women, there was an interesting swing: In 2019, female students earned more from their summer jobs on average than their male counterparts. The median salaries for men and women stood at €2,100 and €2,149, respectively. This year, men had a clear lead over women. The median salary for men was €2,200, while the women’s median stood at €2,100.  

The factor that can help explain the substantially wider gap is that the majority of the women who participated in the students’ summer job survey worked in customer service and sales tasks, which do not pay very well.  

These factors increased summer earnings  

Summer workers in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area earned significantly more on average than students who worked anywhere else in Finland. In the Metropolitan Area, the median pay was €2,205 while elsewhere in Finland it was €2,060.  

The number of credits the students had accumulated increased the pay level. The median salary was €2,046 for those who had fewer than 120 credits and €2,359 for those who had more than 220 credits.  

The amount of pay was also affected by whether or not the summer job was in the student’s own field of study. For business students, most of whom worked in their own fields, the median pay was €2,200. If the summer job did not match the student’s field at all, the median pay stood at €1,950. The difference increased significantly from the previous year.  

Pay recommendations for 2021 

The annual recommendations on students’ summer job pay are issued by the Finnish Business School Graduates’ working life committee. The new recommendations are listed in the table below. The recommendations are based on the business students’ summer job survey and the forecasts released by Akava Works.  

Visit our pay recommendations page for the recommendations on thesis pay or remuneration and the starting salary of recent business school graduates.

Text: Ida Levänen