Startup Estonia: Startup employees' salaries two times higher than average

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The average gross monthly salary in Estonian startups stood at €2,398 last year, twice the average monthly salary in the state, which according to Statistics Estonia was €1,448.

Startup employees aged 31-50 even earned a monthly salary of €2,840. Employees in leading positions earned a gross salary of €2,873 per month, 2.2 times more than the Estonian average, Startup Estonia said. 

"Such a large difference compared with the average salary in Estonia is comprehensible because Estonian startups are, above all, creating jobs with high added value and 59 percent of employees have a higher education. Generally speaking, we can say the average Estonian startup employee is a young highly qualified top specialist with higher education in technology," head of Startup Estonia Eve Peeterson said in a statement.

Statistics released by Startup Estonia show that 46 percent of startup employees are highly qualified top specialists, 17 percent work in supporting and 14 percent in leading positions and 13 percent in technical and support positions. 

36 percent of Estonian startup employees are women and 64 percent are men.

"While the share of women in Estonian startups has grown in recent years, the sector remains rather masculine, thus there is much room for development in this regard," Peeterson said. 

The organization is convinced that success is based on a diverse, coherent and open ecosystem of startups, according to Peeterson, who added that Startup Estonia will contribute together with market participants to fostering gender, age, cultural and geographical diversity in the next years. 

"We can see clearly today that we have a lot of unused potential among women as well as in terms of including the experience of older generations," she said. 

The average Estonian startup employee is relatively young with 48 percent of being in the 21- to 30-year-old age group and 38 percent aged from 31 to 40. 

The share of foreign nationals in Estonian startups is 24 percent with 5 percent coming from the European Union and 19 percent from non-EU states. 59 percent of Estonian startup employees have higher education and the share is even higher among foreign employees at 71 percent. The corresponding figure was 60 percent last year. 

Statistics by Startup Estonia also show that foreign nationals' salary in Estonian startups exceeds the sector average, reaching €2,518 per month.

"[Estonian startups] are first and foremost trying to attract from abroad competence of which there is a shortage in the local market, that is above all tech specialists and professionals in international sales and marketing, to whom they are prepared to pay a higher salary than the average in the sector," Peeterson said.

31 percent of Estonian startup founders are foreign nationals and the average age of founders is 36. Women only account for 15 percent of startup founders; the figure has remained unchanged for years at the same level in Estonia as in the rest of Europe.

Startup Estonia is a governmental initiative aimed to support the development of the Estonian startup ecosystem in order for Estonia to be the birthplace of many more startup success stories to come. The Startup Estonia program is managed by the Kredex foundation and the program's activities relating to research acceleration are carried out by SmartCap.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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