News / 08.06.2011

Half of Finnish journalists would like to work less

More than six out of ten Finnish journalists are satisfied with their work atmosphere. Just five years ago only half were.

According to a recent membership study conducted by the Union of Journalists in Finland journalists are satisfied with the mental rewarding nature of their jobs, job security as well as with their own mental and material welfare.

The increased satisfaction is at odds with the results of a study by Kaarina Nikunen in April. The picture it paints of media houses after the recession is significantly gloomier.

“But it is not surprising that workers are feeling better now: sales in advertisement are rising and those who have retained their jobs have surely breathed a sigh of relief”, says Nikunen a researcher in the department of journalism in the University of Tampere.

Even though the economic recession tightened the pace of work, journalists are also happier than before with the pace of work. Nevertheless there are still more people who are dissatisfied.

Especially thirty to forty year-olds are longing for sabbatical leave.

Fifty per cent of journalists are also longing for holiday and are ready to sacrifice their income for it. It is especially journalists under 30 years and those who are busy on all fronts would like to have more free time.

Jentta Ilanmaa, 41, a journalist in Karjalainen worked four days a week for years when her 10-year old first born was at kindergarten age.

“There was a big difference from normal working week since I could keep a small child at home also during working days”, she says.

Ilanmaa could no longer continue part-time work with a three-and-half year old child, but has to continue working full-time.

“Have to continue to paying off the mortgage”.

It is 30-39 year-olds who are especially yearning for sabbatical holiday. They are also the ones dissatisfied with their bosses and with the mental rewarding nature of the work than others.

According to the researcher, journalists are yearning for more free time partly because they are unable to determine the content of their work like before. Newspapers and programmes are tightly conceptualized and editorial work is now more systematized than before.

Also performing many different tasks simultaneously can diminish the commitment to one’s work, says Kaarina Nikunen.

The women’s magazine, Anna carried through a major restructuring by winning the commitment of workers to the change. Temporary chief editor, Hanna Jensen says a big part of the work atmosphere and work motivation can be solved by senior staff: motivation to work can be kept by telling why things are done the way they are done.

“According to our survey people in our organization also feel they have too much work load but they are enthusiastic”, says Jensen.

She points out that the work load should be taken into special consideration especially if the journalist is on part-time. Seven to eight of Anna’s features journalists are partly working while taking care of children at home for four days a week.

“An extra free day is rewarding when one is not overworked during those four days”.

The desire for journalist to go on holiday is so big that media houses at some stage have to clear the air on their position on some other part-time arrangements other than part-time work while taking children at home and partial early retirement.

Chief Editor of Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, Heikki Hakala’s view is that part-time on a large scale is not possible in editorial work.

“Shortening the working time means in practice reducing work performance and there is no room for that. The working day of a journalist can longer be tightened very much: time should also be available to think and not just perform”.

Translated and edited by Linus Atarah

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