Statistics Estonia: How high are salaries in the most in-demand sectors?

Money. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

What are the salaries on offer in the most sought-after professions in Estonia? And how much do they differ from the average salary? Statistics Estonia crunched the numbers to find out.

In a recent blog post published at the end of September, Statistics Estonia analyzed data from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and larger job advertisement portals and compared the wages offered in job advertisements with the data submitted to its wage comparison application.

It was found that there are big pay gaps between men and women and, in some professions, large pay differences across the country.

Gender-based income disparity is particularly large in Estonia in Ida-Viru County where unskilled women workers in full time employment can face wage poverty unless they have additional sources of income, data from Statistics Estonia shows.

One of the biggest pay gaps between men and women was in the IT sector.

"The advertisements show that people are more often sought for occupations which are also very common according to the employment register, such as cleaning staff, sales and customer service, drivers and workers in various industries. There is also a great need for developers and a lack of medical workers," data researcher Kadri Rootalu wrote on Statistics Estonia's blog.

Unskilled workers face poverty

Looking at unskilled labor, there are many adverts for cleaning staff. The offered salary is usually presented as an hourly rate and falls between four and seven euros, depending on the complexity of the object.

Rootalu said the data shows the median salary of cleaners of offices, hotels and other institutions was €627, with men being paid on average €100 more than women

The gender pay gap was particularly large in Ida-Viru County, where a man working as a full-time cleaner earned an average gross salary of €796 and a woman €580.

As the relative poverty line was €611 per family member in 2019, such a wage means that in the absence of additional income, an average woman living alone and working as a cleaner in Ida-Viru County faces living in poverty.

Skilled workers' wages differ by region

There are also many adverts for builders. The salaries offered in job advertisements range from €650 to €3,000, depending on the complexity of the work performed.

Rootalu pointed out that the salaries of skilled construction workers and foremen were more often stated in the advertisement than ordinary workers' salaries. 

According to salary data, the median salary of builders in general construction was €939. The salaries of unskilled workers in the construction of buildings were lower than this, remaining below €800, but, for example, construction supervisors' salaries were much higher at €1,762.

Rootalu said large regional differences were observed. In Harju and Jarva counties, for example, the median salary of construction foremen is close to €2,000.

Workers and specialists are also widely sought after in the timber industry.

In job advertisements, salaries in this field generally range from €800 to €2,000. According to wage data, the median salary of woodworking-machine tool setters and operators is €1,287, with the highest salaries registered in Tartu County.

In general, according to Rootalu, the difference between the salaries of men and women in this position is at the average level in Estonia with men earning on average €200 more than women.

The analyst said that there is an abundance of job advertisements for welders, but large differences have been registered in the salaries offered in the advertisements within Estonia.

While in Ida-Viru County welders are sought for a salary of €1,000, in Harju and Rapla counties offers exceeding this figure by several-fold are not uncommon. According to the salary application, the median salary of welders in Estonia is €1,415.

Truck drivers are also much sought after in advertisements. The salaries offered to them are around €1,500, which is significantly higher than the median salary of €950 shown in the salary application. 

Tailors and chefs can find better salaries on the islands

With regard to jobs that are mostly held by women, there are numerous job advertisements for tailors. Wage offers start from the minimum wage and rarely exceed €1,000, in most cases the wage is calculated on the basis of piecework.

There is also a lot of demand for chefs and assistant chefs, probably due to the easing of restrictions on catering establishments.

Senior chefs are offered higher salaries, however, they do not yet reach €2,000. The median salary of chefs in the second quarter of 2021 was €811. Higher salaries were in Harju and Tartu counties and on Saaremaa island. The median salary of chefs was slightly higher at €1,000.

Female shop assistants face big pay gap

Job advertisement portals also have numerous ads for salespeople and customer service representatives with most of them seeking shop assistants and cashiers.

The salaries offered start at €600 and the highest salaries are around €1,000. Only a few areas also have higher wage offers.

Rootalu said that many advertisements separately mention performance-based bonuses. The median salary of shop assistants was €813; however, there is a big gap between the salaries of men and women in this position, which reaches 31 percent in all of Estonia and is at least 20 percent in all counties.

As salespeople, men earn on average €358 more than women.

Top specialists have highest wages

Due to the pandemic, the shortage of nurses has become particularly acute both in Estonia and in its neighboring countries.

Salaries in job advertisements range from €1,300 to €2,000. They are slightly lower than the median salary of top nursing professionals according to the application, which is €1,914. 

Rootalu said that there is also an acute labor shortage among top specialist developers. The advertisements for these specialists are often in English in job portals, and very rarely include the salary offered. According to the data researcher, this may be because in addition to the regular salary, there are other ways to motivate employees in many companies, for example in the form of options.

In the salary application, this type of occupation can be found mainly in three occupation groups: software developers, web and multimedia developers, and application programmers. Of these, software developers had the highest median salary of €3,300. There was also a rather large gender pay gap in this group with men earning over €700 more than women.

A male software developer earns an average of €3,556 in Estonia, whereas a female developer earns €2,820. The proportion of women working full-time in software development was 13 percent.

Software developers are followed by programmers in terms of remuneration with a median salary of €2,366. Among programmers, the share of women was slightly higher at 16 percent. There was about the same proportion of women among web and multimedia developers. The total median salary of this occupational group was €1,975, and the difference between men's and women's salaries was the smallest, at 8 percent.

Statistics Estonia's salary application includes the salaries of close to 400 occupations.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Helen Wright

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: