Salary comparison application aims to bring transparency to job market

Statistics Estonia's wages and salaries application.
Statistics Estonia's wages and salaries application. Source: Statistics Estonia.

Statistics Estonia has launched an application which compares and visualises median wages by Estonian regions and counties for the 110 most common occupations. There is hope it could be used to help close the country's gender pay gap.

The wages and salaries application (link in Estonian) shows median gross wages and salaries which employers paid to registered full-time employees in 2019. The median wage is calculated so that half of the employees in the population under earn less and the other half earn more.

Statistics Estonia's data scientist Kadri Rootalu: "Our aim was to use median wages in the application, as it gives a more precise picture of the labour market compared to average wages, which are usually talked about."

It can be used by anyone in Estonia and can be used to compare wages received by employees, or wages paid by enterprises, with the median wages of the group of occupations. The largest target group is, however, enterprises that have entered data in the employment register.

The app uses data entered into the employment register (TÖR) and Estonian tax declaration form TSD annexes 1 and 2. Since 2019, employers are obligated to enter the job title, workplace location and working hours of employees into the employment register which makes comparison possible.

The developers of the application hope that it will add to the transparency and openness of the Estonian labour market. Time dimension will be added as of the second quarter of 2020, which will allow viewing changes in wages and their distribution by quarter.

Wages earned by men and women will be added in the autumn making it possible to compare the gender pay gaps in each industry. This will be a cooperation between the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner and researchers at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology.

Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner Liisa Pakosta said: "The gender pay gap in Estonia is one of the largest in the European Union. One solution to decrease the pay gap is greater transparency and knowledge. If the wages of men and women working in the same occupation are known, women can have fairer salary discussions. Knowledge-based on surveys and statistics helps to make informed decisions in recruitment and salary discussions."

Gender and equality commissioner Liisa-Ly Pakosta. Source:

Common occupations for which wages and salaries data are available in the application are, for example: shop sales assistants (müüjad); cleaners and helpers in offices, hotels and other establishments (koristajad ja abilised kontoris, hotellis jms asutustes); stationary plant and machine operators (seadme- ja masinaoperaatorid); heavy truck and lorry drivers (veoautojuhid); machinery mechanics and repairers (masinamehaanikud ja -lukksepad); teachers (õpetajad); assemblers (koostajad); commercial sales representatives (müügiesindajad); nurses (õed); wood treaters, cabinet-makers (puidutöötlejad ja tislerid); cooks (kokad); engineers (insenerid); building and repair workers (ehitus- ja remonditöölised); software developers (tarkvaraarendajad); and secretaries (sekretärid).

Estonia's gender pay gap has been one of the highest in Europe for a decade. In December, the OECD said in a report the gender pay gap remains particularly large in Estonia, the only OECD member state in which the situation in this area is even worse is South Korea. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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