The University of Helsinki is a motivating, multicultural community with a broad range of international connections and approximately 80 cooperation agreements with universities on different continents. The expertise of our researchers is highly sought-after in international academic communities, conferences and publications. We are a member of LERU, the League of European Research Universities. The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations.
The University as Employer
The human resources policy of the University of Helsinki is based on the idea of the University as a single employer with its staff as its most important resource. The University’s units follow a unified human resources and salary policy, and human resources affairs are handled according to shared procedures. Employment contracts at the University may be concluded until further notice or for a fixed term.
In addition to students and contractual employees, the University community comprises grant-funded researchers as well as Finnish and international visiting researchers. For them, separately confirmed procedures are applied.
The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations. Read more >>
The European Commission has adopted a European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The ‘Charter and Code’, addressed to researchers as well as to employers and funders in both the public and private sectors, are key elements in European Union’s policy in developing Europe into a more attractive, open and sustainable labour market for researchers. The Charter addresses the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of researchers and their employers or funding organizations while the Code promotes an open and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures.
The HR Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) supports organizations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices and provides for the award of the "HR Excellence in Research" logo, which will identify organization as a provider and supporter of a stimulating and favourable working environment, where researchers can expect fair and transparent recruitment practices and appraisal procedures.
University of Helsinki has declared to commit to the Principles of the European Commission’s Recommendation The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers among other universities in Finland.
The HRS4R –project consists of the following five steps:
The current practices and procedures of the University are compared to the principles identified in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Information is collected through several channels from researchers at all career stages.
Drafting an Action Plan
On the basis of the results of the Gap analysis, the university develops its own HR strategy for researchers which includes a concrete action plan.
HR Excellence in Research Acknowledgement
The analysis and action plan are then reviewed and acknowledged by the European Commission. The acknowledgement implies the right to use the HR Excellence in Research logo.
The University subjects the implementation of its action plan to a self-assessment after two years. This process is repeated every two years.
An external evaluation is carried out every four years.
The University of Helsinki is hoping to achieve the European Commission acknowledgement "HR Excellence in Research".
See the University of Helsinki Gap Analysis and Action Plan:
Teaching and research staff are under an annual workload of 1,600 hours. This means that their hours are extremely flexible: there is no set number of hours to work in a day, and the employee may decide on how the hours are allocated during the year. The division of work hours between different tasks (teaching, research, other duties) are entered into the work plan which is drafted annually with the superior.
As a rule, support and expert staff have flexible hours. Persons who have been employed by the University for at least one year accrue 30 days of vacation per year, i.e., six weeks. Persons who have been employed by the University for at least 15 years accrue 38 days of vacation per year.
Salaries are based on the salary system for Finnish universities (YPJ), according to which a requirement level is defined for each position, and a level of personal performance for each employee. The portion of the salary determined by personal performance is between 4 and 46.3% of the salary for the requirement level of the position. Personal performance is regularly evaluated in the assessment discussions arranged every other year. The objective of the salary system is to ensure a fair and motivating salary.
The collective agreements and salary charts (in Finnish) used at the University can be found on the website of the Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers.
The University of Helsinki actively develops the members of its community and supports the competence of its staff. Staff have a wide variety of training options and other forms of support for skills development at their disposal on a range of topics. In addition to careful new employee orientation and constant development of core competence, the University's strategic goal is to promote international, communication, network, leadership and financial competence in particular, in addition to work community skills. The University’s international cooperation agreements provide its staff with opportunities to acquire international experience, for example through researcher, teacher or staff exchange. The University of Helsinki allocates funding to support the recruitment of international professors and assistant professors. New international staff can participate in training events intended to introduce them to the Finnish professional culture or take courses in Finnish.
At the University of Helsinki, scientific research is closely connected to the teaching based on it. For this reason, all members of teaching and research staff must both teach and do research. This way the latest top research can be used in teaching, and junior researchers can acquire valuable teaching experience at an early stage of their careers. Permanent teaching staff are encouraged to conduct research by providing them with research periods free of teaching .
The supervision and guidance for doctoral students working on their dissertations at the beginning of their career are ensured in the doctoral school model. In this model, which will be adopted in the beginning of 2014, every doctoral student is part of a doctoral programme, and through the programme, part of one of the University's four doctoral schools.
The pedagogical skills of teaching and research staff are appreciated and their development is supported. The Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education provides training for the University's teaching staff to enable them to be top experts in higher education and learning. To increase the appreciation of teaching and to recognise excellent teachers, the University has established the Teachers’ Academy, a multidisciplinary collegial network with 20 new members elected every academic year.
The University of Helsinki has invested in the welfare of its employees by offering preventative occupational health services and general medical care with the Mehiläinen Group. UniSport, the exercise services provider owned jointly by the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, offers a wide range of low-cost exercise services on all campuses. For more information, see the UniSports Web site.
To support the balance of work and family, Finnish legislation guarantees employees time off when they have small children. Maternal leave is approximately four months, typically beginning one month before the estimated date of the birth. At the University, the first three months of maternal leave are paid time off. Parental leave, approximately six months in duration, follows maternal leave and may be used by either parent. A separate paternal leave of approximately 9 weeks is allocated for fathers. The University pays the salary for six days of this period. For the unpaid period of maternal, paternal or parental leave, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) pays an allowance to the parent who stays at home caring for the child. After these leave periods, one of the parents may stay on child home care leave until the child is three years old. It is also possible to use part-time child care leave to work fewer hours until the child finishes his or her second year of comprehensive school.
In Finland, children have the right to municipal day care once parental leave ends. Private day-care centres, some of them international, exist in addition to the municipal centres.
In Finland, children begin the 9-year comprehensive school when they are seven years old. In addition to Finnish and Swedish schools, the Greater Helsinki area features a few international schools which use English, French, German or Russian as the language of instruction. The Finnish school system is internationally recognised and esteemed, and education is free of cost on all levels. Similarly, there are no tuition fees associated with University studies.
In Finland pensions of university employees are covered by two state pension systems, depending on the employee’s year of birth. The amount of earnings-related pension is affected by the working career, earnings and the pension accrual rate, which varies for people of different ages. Pensions are funded through contributions from the employees and the employer. The employer deducts the employee’s pension contribution from his or her gross salary in connection with the payment of the salary and pays it along with the employer contribution to the pension company. The amount of the contributions is based on a fixed percentage of the employee’s gross salary (in 2014 the employee’s contribution is 5.55–7.05 % depending on the employee’s year of birth). The pension contributions are not returned if the person moves from Finland. The Finnish earnings related pension is paid out to all eligible employees regardless of their place of residence.
An important prerequisite for improving the University’s profitability, economy and service capacity is that University staff use their expertise in cooperation by participating in the preparation of decision making. Such cooperation promotes the attainment of the objectives of the University’s human resourcespolicy and improves the functionality and wellbeing of the working community. Cooperation procedures are implemented at all levels: individual, unit, faculty and University.
The University of Helsinki is a member of the Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers.
The University of Helsinki has a high-quality teaching and research infrastructure with comprehensive support services.
Library and information services
The Helsinki University Library is the largest multidisciplinary university library in Finland, offering information and library services on all disciplines covered by the University’s four campuses. The Library offers its customers extensive collections of both printed publications and electronic material. More information: Helsinki University Library
The National Library is Finland’s largest and oldest academic library. More information: National Library
The University of Helsinki’s research services help researchers with practical matters related to research, such as finding and applying for research funding as well as legal issues related to corporate cooperation. Research services can also help researchers with any questions related to innovations and inventions. More information: Services for Researchers
Food and exercise on campus
Sports services: UniSport
Housing and accommodation services
Unihome is a joint service of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, offering housing services to incoming international staff and visitors. More information: Unihome
Visual communication and publication services: Unigrafia