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What is YKA?

Social Science Professionals (Yhteiskunta-alan korkeakoulutetut ry) is a labour market organisation for employees, graduates and students in public or private sector or NGOs. The association is an affiliate of the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava).

A typical training background for members is a university degree in political or social science, administration, humanities or pedagogics. Our membership already exceeds 13 000, and the number of members is rising steadily.

YKA in a nutshell

The Social Science Professionals (YKA) is a professional interest organisation for people working in public services or private sector and who have a university degree or are studying for one. The Union is a community of 13 000 members.

The association safeguards its members’ professional, financial, educational and social interests on the labour market. The association also aims to promote appreciation for the professions represented by its members and the professional identity of its members.

Some 40 per cent of the association’s members are employed by the state and universities, 20 per cent are employed by municipalities, and 40 per cent are employed by companies and other organisations in the private sector.

The Union was founded in 1947. On 1 March 2012 the name was changed from Suomen Valtiotieteilijöiden Liitto SVAL ry to Yhteiskunta-alan korkeakoulutetut ry (YKA for short). The Union is part of central organisation Akava.

YKA’S STRATEGY 2023–2026


A better working life for a healthy, sustainable and equal society.


We are the union for a new age, experts at working life and the best supporters of social science professionals. Through our advocacy work we will build a better working life.

YKA’s values


Our work is open and transparent. The Unions’ lobbying and aims are based on facts and research. Our decision making is based on extensive member democracy, and we develop our work based on the feedback we receive from members. We are easy to reach, and everyone is welcome to join our activities.


We know our responsibility as experts on society and promote equity and equality in working life and all of society. We acknowledge our members’ different life situations and treasure the trust in the fairness of our work.


YKA actively participates in social dialogue and influences society. We bring forward new initiatives bravely, we propose different options and we strive for real impact. We take part in developing working life and the social science field with determination. We are at the front end of the trade union movement reform and we are open to new ideas.

Strategic priorities


  • The aim of our advocacy work is to achieve a healthy, sustainable and equal working life.
  • YKA will become an interesting Union which offers open-minded and courageous solutions for the challenges of working life.
  • In our advocacy work we will also acknowledge the groups who need it the most, such as those in atypical employment contracts, groups in danger of facing discrimination, as well as students and young people.



  • We will identify the sections in YKA’s current policy documents pertaining to a healthy, sustainable and equal working life.
  • We will direct our advocacy work to achieving a healthy, sustainable and equal working life.
  • We will come up with more visionary initiatives on selected topics.


  • We will take ownership over one of the issues raised in our strategy.
  • We will have a more active relationship with the media.
  • We will be skilled in both influencing through our networks and gaining visibility for our objectives.



  • We will increase our communications resources moderately and allocate them to advocacy communications.
  • We will allocate more of our communications resources to achieving success in our chosen key themes.
  • We will utilise our members’ skills in advocacy and communications.


  • We will be active within negotiation organisations and influence their definition of negotiation objectives.
  • We will have a developing network of partners which supports our advocacy.



  • We will identify our strategic partners according to the chosen advocacy priorities. We will collaborate with other unions and also actively look for new partners who support our advocacy.
  • We will prioritise participation in networks according to our priorities for strategic influencing.
  • We will give our elected representatives opportunities to participate in trade union networks outside our own organisation.


  • YKA will have a good reputation as the union for the new age.
  • We will strengthen the identity of a social science professional. This identity will be embraced by all members, not just social scientists.
  • All students of social sciences will become familiar with YKA during their first year at university.
  • The majority of social scientists will be members of YKA.



  • We will support the building of a social science professional identity through our communications, for example by sharing career stories.
  • Instead of focusing on social scientists, we will highlight the social science professional identity in our workshops and communications.
  • We will strengthen our recruitment of members and our presence on campuses.
  • The key target group of our recruitment efforts will be social scientists. We will also acknowledge other social science professionals in our recruitment.


  • The different forums where YKA members can participate will remain active.
  • The work of the Board and the Union Council will feel accessible to members.
  • We will consult our members in varied ways.
  • The activities of YKA’s local branches will be expanded.



  • We will create opportunities and channels for members to have an influence and be active within YKA and emphasise the joy of taking part in YKA’s work.
  • We will strengthen the community spirit on a local level and through peer meetings at workshops and events.
  • We will get better at identifying the varying willingness to participate in different membership segments and target our activities accordingly.
  • We will support local organisations in member inclusion.
  • We will strengthen our multilingual communications, particularly in English and Swedish.
  • We will increase collaboration between YKA and SYY.


  • Through its skills, activity and courage, YKA will become bigger than the sum of its parts in the union Akava.
  • Akava becomes an important forum where YKA can influence legislation. We will support the central organisation in renewing itself and remaining a relevant player.
  • We are proponents of openness, democratic modes of operation, and equality.



  • We will carry out active lobbying according to our values within Akava’s trade union movement.
  • We will highlight the diversity of our membership and not only advocate for the average member.

Want to know more? Ask Maria!

Maria Teikari