Background Understanding diverse labor market trajectories around vocational rehabilitation provides important insight into potential effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts. We examined factors associated with work participation trajectories before and after vocational rehabilitation. Methods Using nationwide Finnish register data of 7180 vocational rehabilitees, we constructed latent trajectory groups of work participation two years before and two years after their rehabilitation episode starting in 2008-2010. We plotted changes in labor market statuses in these groups and examined other associated factors using multinomial logistic regression. Results We identified four trajectories based on work participation levels before and after vocational rehabilitation. The "High-Resumed" group (35.6%) typically returned to full duties. The "High-to-Negligible" group (20.7%) typically transitioned to full disability retirement or unemployment. Among the "Medium-Resumed" (25.5%) and "Longstanding Negligible" (18.3%) groups, work disability and unemployment were common before rehabilitation, but afterwards those assigned to the former group often returned to full or partial duties. Overall, older age, male gender, living in areas with lower employment rates, having lower education, being employed in the private sector, and having mental diagnoses were associated with the other three trajectories than the most favorable "High-Resumed" trajectory. Furthermore, certain industrial sectors, job exposures, and less common diagnoses further separated specific trajectories. Conclusions Work participation trajectories around vocational rehabilitation are diverse, only partly dependent on initial levels of work participation, and determined by various individual and work-related factors. Future nationwide studies should assess the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation taking into consideration both individual and work-related factors.