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Economist: Job marketplace frenetic and employee-led

Construction work in Estonia (picture is illustrative).
Construction work in Estonia (picture is illustrative). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Around 7% of employees in Estonia voluntarily changed jobs every quarter so far this year, according to Bank of Estonia economist Rasmus Kattai.

This means, according to Mr Kattai, that around one in four employees will have switched workplace this year so far, although he did not state whether the 7% in each quarter constituted unique individuals or, in some cases, the same individual changing employment more than once in the year.

Nevertheless, the rate of turnover is the highest reported in Estonia for decades and is viewed as a positive sign of economic growth. Demand for products and services both for domestic and foreign markets is increasing, the bank says, something which prompts companies to hire more people in order to meet.

Even exceeding earlier boom times

''Since unemployment is negligible now [not strictly true, registered unemployment stands at around 4.5% at present, though a low level indeed–ed.], companies are having to attract people who are currently employed, usually via better wages, making the current workforce larger than ever,'' Mr Kattai continued.

''Even during the last boom period [of the early-mid 2000s–ed.] when stories circulated about construction workers sort of being picked up in bulk from a 'builders' shop', the job market was not as frenetic as today's; one can only speculate on what the situation would look like if there were no labour migration to alleviate shortages,'' he said.

Construction workers from countries such as Ukraine are quite a common feature in Estonia at present.

In any case, the onus is on companies to provide both better wages and conditions. This wage-chasing is also a factor behind growing average wages in recent times, something which changes in the tax system has not so far affected, said Mr Kattai.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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