Average gross monthly wages and salaries in the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2023) rose 13.3 percent on year to €1,741, state agency Statistics Estonia reports. However, average real wages in Q1 2023 stood at €1,443, down 3.2 percent on year.
Median wages stood at €1,424 in Q1 2023, the agency reports.
Argo Tarkiainen, Statistics Estonia analyst, said: "The change in methodology now allows for the publication of median wage figures alongside the average wages and salaries. In addition, the predominantly register-based collection of data reduces the administrative burden for respondents."
By economic activity, the average monthly gross wages and salaries in Q1 2023 were highest in information and communication (ICT), where the figure was €3,160, financial and insurance activities (€2,952), and energy (€2,435).
"They were lowest in accommodation and food service (€1,124), other service activities (€1,142), and real estate (€1,209)," Tarkiainen went on, adding that average wages and salaries increased the most in education (by 19.8 percent) and in accommodation and food service activities (by 17.3 percent).
Statistics Estonia has been using data from the the Tax and Customs Board (MTA) employment register, along with income and social tax declarations, since Q1 2023, in order to publish figures for average wages and salaries.
Employees working under employment contracts, under the Civil Service Act,* and under service contracts are included in these figures, the agency says.
By region of Estonia, average monthly gross wages and salaries continued to be highest in Harju (where the average gross monthly wage was €1,975 per month) and Tartu counties (€1,730 per month) and lowest on Saaremaa (€1,316) and in Valga County (€1,261).
Year-on-year, the biggest growth in wages and salaries, however, came in Valga County (at 16.3 percent) and in Tartu County (14.1 percent).
Median wages, i.e. the point at which half of employees earn more and half earn less, were highest in the first quarter of 2023 in information and communication (€2,661), financial and insurance activities (€2,395), and in public administration and defence (€2,100).
Median wages were lowest in accommodation and food service activities (€984), other service activities (€892), and real estate activities (€813).
Real wages, which take inflation into account and reflect people's actual purchasing power, stood at €1,443 in Q1 2023, 3.2 percent lower than a year ago.
"So we continue to see that wages and salaries are rising, but as price increases have outpaced wage increases, people's purchasing power is lower than a year ago. Compared with the last quarter of 2022, however, the decline in real wages has slowed," Tarkiainen added.
* Excluding employees in the areas of governance of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior.
Editor: Andrew Whyte