Wages in public authorities increased by almost 10 percent last year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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The "Superministry" complex in Tallinn, which houses the finance ministry. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Wages of staff at public authorities increased by almost 10 percent last year, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said on Monday. Last year, 27,628 civil servants worked in state and local government agencies.

Last year Estonia's average gross monthly salary was €1,407, which increased by 7.4 percent compared to the previous year. In comparison, the average gross monthly basic salary of state authorities increased by 9.8 percent to €1,599. 

The figures were released at the launch of the 2019 Civil Service Report on Monday, which gives an overview of Estonia's public service sector.

Last year, the average gross monthly salary of civil servants was €1,877, increasing by 8.6 per cent year-on-year, and the average gross monthly salary of local government officials increased by 5.3 per cent to €1,692. 

Aab said the salary level of state agencies has been behind the private sector for many years, considering the complexity of the work and attempts have been made to reduce the backlog in several areas in recent years.

"This year, the average monthly basic salary gap of public institutions is 12.4 percent of the median salary in the private sector. The gap between top specialists is even greater. The average salary gap of top state specialists and primary managers is -17 percent in the private sector," he said.

"The salary levels of large groups of state employees, such as teachers, employees of special care institutions, rescuers, police officers and cultural workers, have improved and are welcomed."

He added that what will happen next year is up to the government to decide. "The feeling is that salaries in the civil service will not increase next year," he said. "This is a political decision that must be made during the preparation of the state budget," said Aab.

More than 27,000 people work in Estonia's civil service

Last year, 27,628 civil servants were employed in state and local government agencies, and the civil service accounted for 4.2 percent of Estonian employment. There are 43 officials and 16 employees, which is 0.2 more than in 2018. 

In 10 years, the number of public sector employees has decreased by 9 percent. Aab said people's expectations of public services are growing, which is why they need to be better organized on a daily basis.

Of the civil servants, 22,059 worked in state administrations and 5,569 in municipal administrations. More than a third of the civil servants were special servants, i.e. police and prison officers, rescue workers and others, according to the report.

The largest number of special officers is in the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), followed by the Defense Forces.

Last year, the public sector employed a total of 132,333 full-time employees. Most public sector employees are working in Tallinn. As a percentage, most public sector employees are in Ida-Viru County and Tartu County.

Average civil servant is 43.5 years old, more women than men

The average age of a civil servant was still 43.5 years last year, but the average age is on the rise. There are slightly more women in office than men, while there are more younger men in special services.

There are significantly more people with higher education in the civil service than in the country as a whole. People with higher education make up 42 percent of all employed people in Estonia, and 61 percent of civil servants have higher education.

According to Aab, the civil service must keep pace with global technological trends, especially in the current emergency, where everyone must get used to working flexibility.

In 2019, the total staff turnover in the civil service was 12.6 percent and the voluntary turnover was 8.1 percent. Compared to 2018, both
total flow and voluntary flow remained at the same level.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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