Labour market information

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Estonia - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


As of 1 January 2018, the population of Estonia is 1 323 820 people. In the third quarter of 2018, the labour force (aged 15-74) consisted of 976 165 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 third quarter of 2018, the number of employees was 666 600 and the employment rate was 68.2 %, similar to the same quarter a year before.

In the third quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate was 5.2 %, the employment rate 68.2 % and the activity rate 72 % according to Statistics Estonia.

Labour needs in Estonia are studied by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Changes in employment rates and the need for replacing current employees have been examined according to sectors, posts and educational levels. Studies forecast that the number of employees will increase over the coming years and will reach 645 000 by 2025, on the basis of a maximum scenario. Primarily, the number of employees continues to decrease in agriculture, the clothing industry, retailing, the public sector and education (due to a decreasing number of students). The highest increase in employment rates is foreseen in the programming sector, with an increase forecast also in research and development-related activities. With an ageing population, bigger contributions to healthcare and social services are expected.

The need for more labour will grow in sectors with increasing employment rates.  That affects natural science and technology science specialists, motor vehicle drivers, business and management specialists, managers of various activity fields, skilled employees in the metal and machinery industries, healthcare specialists, senior specialists in pedagogy and construction workers. This 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: 03/2019

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