Survey: Healthcare sector wages rose by up to 10 percent on year to Q2 2022

Doctors monitoring coronavirus patients at the North Estonia Medical Center in Talllinn.
Doctors monitoring coronavirus patients at the North Estonia Medical Center in Talllinn. Source: North Estonia Medical Center.

Health care workers in Estonia saw an average wage increased in all major occupational groups on year to the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2022), according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by the National Institute for Health Development (TAI), found that the median monthly salary of doctors, including all bonuses, stood at €3,681 in March 2022, nurses and midwives the figure was €2,048 and for caregivers it was €1,346. These figures represented a growth on year of between six and 10 percent, though the annual growth of the median monthly salary slowed down, especially for nurses and midwives and care workers.

The average gross hourly wage in Estonia stood at €9.54 in Q1 2022 the survey found, a rise of 6.1 percent on year. 

The gross hourly wages of nurses and midwives and caregivers grew at a slightly slower rate than the Estonian average wage, while the gross hourly wages of doctors grew at the same pace as the national average, TAI says. 

The average hourly salary of doctors is 2.1 times higher than the average hourly salary in Estonia, and the hourly salary of nurse-midwives is 1.2 times higher. These indicators have been the same for several years. At the same time, the average hourly wage of care workers is a quarter lower than the Estonian average.

Tiiu-Liisa Rummo, an analyst at TAI's health statistics department, said: "Whereas the annual growth of the average basic salary of doctors, nurses and midwives and caregivers slowed down only slightly compared with the previous year, the slowdown in annual salary growth including various bonuses was significantly more noticeable."

"This indicates the stabilization of the payment of bonuses during the COVID-19 period, especially among nurses-midwives and care workers, " Rummo went on.

Among doctors and dentists, the average hourly rate was the highest for orthodontists and several categories of surgeon and neurosurgeon, and was the lowest among clinical microbiologists and family doctors. 

Meanwhile, the difference in the average hourly wage between the highest- and lowest-paid professions was almost fourfold. 

Cardiac surgeons, ophthalmologists and rheumatologists saw the largest fall in their average hourly salary over the year, while the annual increase in hourly salary was the largest for prosthetists and orthodontists.

Nurses in infection control nurses, anesthesia and intensive care and geriatrics received the highest rate of pay, while it was the lowest for diabetes and rehabilitation nurses. 

Compared with March 2021, the average hourly salary rose the most during the year for infection control nurses, though it fell slightly for anesthesia intensive care nurses.

In March 2022 a collective agreement set minimum hourly wage for doctors at €13.85 and €15.00 for specialists; €8.40 for nurses, midwives and healthcare support specialists, €7.07 for emergency technicians and €5.25 for caregivers. 

While for the majority of healthcare workers, wages will exceed the above, there do still exist workers who receive below that level according to the data for March, with as many as 19 percent of dentists and 15 percent of specialists, along with 6 percent of nurses and midwives, receiving below the minimum, though this is in some cases offset against dividends in the case of those working in the private sector.

The average gross hourly salary of doctors including regular bonuses rose by 6 percent; for dentists it rose by 17 percent, for nurses and midwives by 5 percent, and for caregivers by 5 percent.

Average wages were highest in the 45-49 age-group; the pay gap between the highest paid and lowest paid physician age groups was 24 percent while for nurses and midwives and carers it was around 15 percent.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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