Labour market information

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Estonia - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


As of 1 January 2020, the population of Estonia is 1 328 360 people. In the first quarter of 2020, the labour force (aged 15–74) consisted of 984 000 people. Estonia is renowned for the simplicity and speed of its administrative procedures. Many e-services are available that support entry into the labour market. 

In the first quarter of 2020, 670 300 people were employed and the employment rate was 68.1%. The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2020 was 5.0% and the economic activity rate was 71.7%. According to Statistics Estonia, these numbers do not yet reflect the negative effects of the emergency situation on Estonia’s labour market. 

Labour needs in Estonia are studied by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Changes in employment rates and the need to replace current employees have been examined according to sectors, posts, and educational levels. The number of people employed is forecasted to rise slightly in the next few years. The highest increase in employment rates is foreseen in the programming sector, with a forecasted increase also in the fields of professional, scientific, and technical activities. Due to the ageing of the population, the proportion of health care and social services is expected to rise. A decrease is expected in the number of people employed in agriculture, the manufacture of wearing apparel, retail trade, the public sector, and, in connection with a decrease in the number of students, in education.

The need for more labour will grow in sectors with increasing employment rates. That affects natural science and engineering specialists, motor vehicle drivers, skilled employees in the metal and machinery industries, health care specialists, senior specialists in pedagogy, and construction workers. Fast growth will trigger a greater need for employees in the information and communication technology sector. The need for personal carers and employees in the electrical and electronic industry can be said to be higher than average. There is an increased need for specialists in almost all sectors.

A more thorough overview of the labour market situation, its future trends and training needs is available in the OSKA (monitoring and prognosis system for labour force needs) general report ‘Estonian Labour Market Today and Tomorrow’.


Text last edited on: 09/2020

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