2018 civil service pay €1,711 a month, rises highest in local authorities

The Ministry of Finance had hoped in 2017 to convince more people to work for the public sector.
The Ministry of Finance had hoped in 2017 to convince more people to work for the public sector. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

While wages in the civil service as a whole grew in line with the national average in 2018, local government officials saw a more rapid salary rise, helped along by administrative reform. However, local government staff were paid less on average than the overall figure for civil servants, though the overall figure for civil servants was higher than the national average. In general, those areas of the public sector with the lowest wages saw the highest increases.

According to ERR's online news in Estonian, citing a civil service report, the average gross salary for local government officials grew by 11 per cent to €1,607, compared with a 6.9 per cent for state civil servants, to an average of €1,729.

This made an overall civil servants' gross salary of €1,711, a rise of 7.5 percent, compared with a national average rise of 7.3 percent, to €1,310.

Administrative reform contributed to wage growth

The same research pointed out that administrative reforms which altered responsibilities and division of labor between local government departments and officials fueled much of the above-average rise in wages in that sector.

The overall higher-than-average figure for civil servants was explained by the higher proportion of employees with higher education, 65 percent, compared with 41 percent in the workforce as a whole, the report said.

Overall, civil service pay has risen in line with the average, after a surge in 2013-2014 following cuts particularly in bonuses, in the aftermath of the economic crisis from 2009.

Irregular bonuses for local government officials also made up a larger proportion of those in local government, at 6.1 percent, compared with that for civil servants overall, at 4.6 percent.

Lower wages in managed institutions

Institutions managed by public authorities saw an average gross basic wage of €1,316, and an overall total average gross of €1,457. The wage growth in this sector was 7 percent, 0.3 percentage points below the overall average for wages.

One example of such institutions, museums, although it has amongst the lowest levels of pay, saw one of the largest increases in 2018, of 22.7 percent.

Public IT institutions had a significantly higher average, though still below the same areas within the private sector.

Public sector stats

In 2018, the public sector in Estonia employed 132,225 people. Just under 21 percent of these, 27,569, were civil servants at both state and local level.

The sector's workforce shrank by 720 employees, or 2.5 percent, over the same period.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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