According to a fresh survey by Eurostat, the gender pay gap in Estonia was 25.3 percent in 2016, 1.6 smaller than in 2015.
"The gender pay gap is a result of the combined effect of many different factors. However, with a systemic approach and constant informing in all walks of life it is possible to help reduce inequality," Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said in a press release.
"Employers and support for employers in order for more attention to be paid to analyses of gender equality and remuneration systems within organizations definitely have an important role to play in reducing the gender pay gap. Besides, women have become more daring and are able to attach value to their qualification and ask for proper pay for their work," the minister said.
The gender pay gap in Estonia, whose size was almost 30 percent as recently as a couple of years ago, has been declining at a moderate rate in recent years. This can be partially attributed to the fact that according to the statistical office the percentage of women working in leading positions has been growing.
According to Eurostat, the biggest reduction in the gender wage gap in 2016 occurred in retail and wholesale. Data from a workforce survey shows that the share of women working in managerial positions has been growing in retail and wholesale in recent years. Also the share of women working in the position of top specialist grew somewhat in 2016.
In order to reduce the gender pay gap, the Ministry of Social Affairs is drafting a bill that would establish a more effective system for analyzing the gender pay gap and helping employers to analyze the amounts paid out to men and women more effectively and with less trouble. The Labor Inspectorate will be authorized to monitor the gender pay gap in public institutions.
Shorter interruptions in the time during which women get remuneration for work also help reduce the gender pay gap. This includes an incentive adopted in last December for fathers to use a bigger portion of the parental leave that parents in Estonia are entitled to after the birth of a child.
The gender pay gap of 25.3 percent for 2016 is the lowest such ratio for the past 11 years. In 2015 the gender pay gap was 26.9 percent, in 2014 it was 28.1 percent and in 2013, 29.8 percent.
Statistics Estonia and Eurostat use different methodologies for calculating the gender pay gap. In Eurostat statistics on the pay difference companies and institutions with fewer than ten employees are not included, just like agriculture, forestry, fishery, public administration and national defense.
Statistics Estonia, on the other hand, uses data for all companies and institutions, as well as all sectors.
According to Statistics Estonia, the gender pay gap in Estonia in 2016 was 20.9 percent.
Eurostat uses the same methodology in analyzing data for all countries and thereby ensures comparability. The data of Statistics Estonia meanwhile takes the context of Estonia more into account, spokespeople for the Ministry of Social Affairs said.
The gender pay gap in unadjusted form represents the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees and of female paid employees as a percentage of average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees. The indicator has been defined as unadjusted, or not adjusted according to individual characteristics that may explain part of the earnings difference, such as workload, profession and similar, because it should give an overall picture of gender inequalities in terms of pay.
Editor: Dario Cavegn