Labour market

Considerations for the investor:

  • Trade unions and employers generally have a cooperative relationship; it is unusual in Estonia to strike.
  • Social security contributions ( calculated from the gross employment income are payable by the employer.
  • Employees do not make any personal social tax contributions. Employee’s part of unemployment insurance contributions and compulsory accumulative pension contributions are withheld from the gross income by the employer.
  • Foreigners, residing in Estonia on the basis of residence permit, are, in general, permitted to work in Estonia. Separate work permits are not issued.
  • The employment of non-residents must be registered with the Police and Border Guard Board.
  • A Non-resident may act as a member of the management or supervisory board of Estonian legal entity without the registration.

Estonia’s population of working age is just below one million, with approximately 650 thousand in employment (2018). About one third of them have higher education and 86% of adults speak at least one foreign language. For older generation the main foreign language is Russian and for younger adults English. Estonian students are amongst the best in Europe in terms of their English language skills.

Structural unemployment continues to be an issue and there’s a continuous need for talent in sectors relying on skilled labour. At the same time the estimated number of unemployed people were over 47 thousand on the first quarter of 2018.

  • Unemployment (ILO):
    16.9% (2010)
    12.5% (2011)
    10.2% (2012)
    8.6% (2013)
    7.4% (2014)
    6.2% (2015)
    6,8% (2016)
    5,8% (2017)
    6,8% (2018 Iq)
  • Average wage:
    792 EUR (2010)
    839 EUR (2011)
    887 EUR (2012)
    949 EUR (2013)
    1005 EUR (2014)
    1065 EUR (2015)
    1146 EUR (2016)
    1221 EUR (2017)
  • Working time: 8 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • Age of retirement: 63 (both men and women), 65 starting 2017
  • General vacation: An employee is entitled to annual paid leave in the amount of 28 calendar days.

Useful Links:

Statistics Estonia:
Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund:
Ministry of Social Affairs:
Labour Inspectorate: