The Education and Research ministry which moved to Tartu 20 years ago, has concentrated back to Tallinn over recent years. Although the pandemic increased the possibilities for remote working, people have stayed in the capital.
In the former building of the city government of Tartu, there are three computer places meant for remote working in the public sector. On Tuesday, these places were empty. However, on the same floor, there were several finance ministry employees including the regional administration advisor Sulev Valner.
"Being in Tartu doesn't interrupt anything. I worked from Võrumaa, Haanja (South Estonia) and I was able to work for the ministry this way as well," Valner said.
Valner said that even though work can be done from every city, most of his colleagues are in Tallinn.
The Ministry of Education offers an opportunity to work in both cities. However, the share in Tallinn has increased over the years - if in 2017 two-thirds of the ministry worked in Tartu, now people are more or less evenly split. Almost everyone has moved to Tallinn, including, spokespeople.
"They have definitely been chosen not as a result of their location, but as a result of their knowledge and competencies. We definitely don't have a plan or conviction to hire somebody to a certain place, most job advertisements have the location set in Tartu or Tallinn," the Education and Research Ministry's deputy chancellor Pärt Eo-Rannap.
Tõnis Lukas who brought the main building of the Ministry of Education to Tartu 20 years ago, said employees should be looked for from Tartu. The government's action plan also includes the transfer of state-paid places outside Tallinn. Lukas said the state should take definite steps towards this goal.
"In the future, officials should be hired in Tartu, because in fact, it is clear that if things are allowed to flow, more people will end up being sucked into a place where there are more people, more resources. But it is of great value if there is a competent skilled workforce outside the capital," Lukas said.
Valner also acknowledged that in the absence of structural changes, the leading positions will be concentrated in the capital.
"If there is a constant need to be present at some meetings, and to really be present, it creates certain geographical needs," Valner said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino