Hannu: Director in the Insurance Department

Hannu Ijäs. Silmälasipäinen mies nojaa käytävällä kaiteeseen. Kädessään hänellä on salkku. Taustalla näkyy punaista seinää ja lasiovi.

Hannu Ijäs came to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from the private sector. According to Hannu, changes happen more slowly in the public sector compared to the private sector. What is good about that is that employees can take their time to focus on longer projects, and you don’t have to think about potential changes every month.

What do you do in practice?

- Normal supervisory work, but I also actively participate in legislative drafting, which is our most important function. In the drafting, I follow and steer experts in how they draft Government proposals. I sometimes also chair the working groups. Sometimes I phrase the sections of law with the experts. This work is all about producing text one way or another anyway. The processes are long and drafts are done one after the other.

How does your job affect people’s everyday lives in Finland?

- Some of my work on legislative amendments has a direct effect, some has an indirect effect. If we regulate, for example, insurance company finance and how financially sound they must be, the effect is indirect. Amendments to e.g. the law on transport insurance, in turn, have a direct effect. If those rules are changed and if rules on the insurance of motor vehicles are changed, the effect would be direct.

Why did you want to work for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health?

- Because my tasks here are interesting and challenging from a professional standpoint. Secondly, because they sold my previous employer’s business. So it was a good time to explore other job opportunities.

What is it like to work for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health?

- The basics are in order. The office and location are great. My tasks are interesting. The general atmosphere is also good. People are committed to their work.

How well does the ministry take the reconciliation of work and free time into account?

- Tracking working hours in itself already rules out spending all hours at the office. Long-term projects also help you stick to your hobbies and family time. However, you can easily lose the balance between work and private time. You can work as much as you like, if you are really ambitious.

What kind of skills and personality traits are useful in your work?

- You have to have good negotiating and cooperation skills. You also have to understand that facts disagree, not people. We deal with complex decision-making here at the ministry. In the private sector, it is quite clear that it is the company’s management that decides where to go. But here at the ministry, decision-making is more rigid and multi-faceted, because there are so many interests involved in decisions. It is indeed typical for different parties to disagree.

What is the best thing about your job?

- Its contents. I feel like I am doing things that are important to society. I get to work on interesting issues every day.


Name: Hannu Ijäs
Job: Director, Insurance Department
Education: LL.M.
Duration of service at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Since 1 Feb 2013
Prior experience: Tryg Forsikring, Finnish branch/Nordea Accident Insurance, Central Association of Finnish Insurance Companies, Statutory Accident Insurance, Accident Appeal Board, Insurance Court