Press release 192/2012
30 August 2012
Studies conducted by the Foreign Ministry indicate that staff members with a service relationship are generally satisfied with the atmosphere at work, the approachability of superiors and the overall working conditions. The permanent objective is that diplomatic missions can offer meaningful jobs with clear, reasonable and competitive terms also in the future. The Foreign Ministry is committed to long-term development of the position and service terms of staff at diplomatic missions. To this end, the central measures are comprehensive review of personnel policies and regulations affecting staff, a separate study on pay level and support for staff members’ occupational organisation. Another object of focus is the development of leadership.
On the basis of questions raised in public, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has had the Foreign Ministry look into issues pertaining to locally hired staff. No malpractice has surfaced, but the diplomatic missions need more guidance and advice, for instance about recruitment.
The topicality of personnel policies, regulations and guidelines relating to staff with a service relationship will be examined in autumn 2012. A separately appointed working group will present the changes considered necessary by 31 December 2012.
The Foreign Ministry is planning to participate in an international comparative study on staff pay level at diplomatic missions. The study would cover more than half of Finland’s network of diplomatic missions. The aim is to launch the study as soon as possible. The results can be used to objectively assess whether the current situation reflects a need for development of pay.
Worker organisation creates a controlled structure for discussions between staff and the employer. Although there already is cooperation in most diplomatic missions, the organisation of local staff is promoted at diplomatic missions and among staff by increasing information and training. The Foreign Ministry continues to implement the agreed discussion channels.
In the future, improvement of the recruitment process will be a focal point. In this regard, informing applicants better during the recruitment phase is important so that they obtain the right picture of their position and service terms before deciding whether to accept the job.
The staff and employers at the diplomatic missions are encouraged to openly discuss service relations and other issues raised concerning the work community. In addition, attention will be paid to providing the staff with occupational training and training about the Foreign Service.
The diplomatic missions of Finland employ nearly 1,200 staff members, representing about one hundred different nationalities, who were hired in the host country. Finnish citizens number about 400 people. The employer of all staff members is a Finnish Embassy, Consulate General or some other service point abroad.
Additional information: Vesa Lehtonen, Head of Personnel Planning (Deputy Director General for Personnel as from 01 September 2012), tel. +358 9 1605 5401, Mika Koskinen, Head of Personnel Services, tel.+358 9 1605 5408, Kirsti Narinen, Head of Well-being at Work, tel. +358 9 1605 6574