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Estonia's gender pay gap decreases 1.3 percent to 21 percent

The gender pay gap in 2016 according to occupation.
The gender pay gap in 2016 according to occupation. Source: (Statistics Estonia)

In October 2016, the average gross hourly wages of female employees were 20.9 percent lower than those of their male counterparts, representing a 1.3 percent decrease on year in the gender pay gap, according to a Friday morning press release from Statistics Estonia.

According to the statistics office, Estonia's gender pay gap decreased by 1.3 percent for the third year in a row last year.

In October 2016, the average grosss hourly earnings without irregular bonuses and premiums were €6.04 for women and €7.63 for men. Compared to 2015, gross hourly pay increased 11.6 perent for female employees and 9.8 percent for male employees.

In the past three years, women's gross hourly wages have risen faster than those of men, which is the main reason for the decreae in the pay gap.

In 2016, the gender pay gap was the biggest in mining and quarrying, where the majority of employees are men, at 36.4 percent. A larger share of male employees in a particular field is not always related to a bigger than average pay gap, however. Another economic activity involving mostly male employees is construction, however the pay gap in this field is smaller than average at just 15.3 percent.

Following mining and quarrying, the next biggest pay gaps were recorded in financial and insurance activities (33 percent), manufacturing (29.5 percent), wholesale and retail trade (29 percent) and human health and social work activities (26 percent). The difference between the gross hourly earnings of male and female employees was smallest in water supply, sewerage and waste management and remediation activities (8.9 percent), public administration and defense (8 percent) as well as other service activities (7.8 percent). The pay gap was statistically nonexistent in transportation and storage activities.

Compared to 2015, the gender pay gap increased the most in administrative and support service activities (8 percent), accommodation and food service activities (4.9 percent) as well as in mining and quarrying (4.1 percent), while decreasing the most in construction (6.3 percent) and other service activities (6.1 percent). Over the pat five years, the pay gap ha decreased the most in other service activities and real estate activities and increased the most in administrative and support activities, agriculture, forestry and fishing and mining and quarrying.

With regard to ownership, the pay gap in institutions and businesses owned by the state and local governments was smaller than in businesses owned by Estonian or foreign private entities. In 2016, the pay gap in state institutions and businesses was 17 percent and in local government institutions and businesses 11.6%, whereas the pay gap in the businesses owned by Estonian private entities was 19.5% and in the enterprises owned by foreign private entities 29.7%.

The pay gap in the public sector, which includes state and local government institutions and businesses, and private sector, including businesses owned by Estonian and foreign private entities, was almost the same at 21.6 and 21.8 percent, respectively.

In 2016, Estonia's gender pay gap was the biggest in Ida-Viru (27.9 percent), Jõgeva (25.3 percent), Hiiu (23.4 percent) and Lääne (22.1 percent) Counties and smallest in Põlva (11.3 percent), Rapla (15.1 percent9 and Tartu (15.9 percent) Counties.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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