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Estonia's gender pay gap stood at 20.9 pct to women's disadvantage in 2017

  • 2018-05-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The average gross hourly earnings of female employees were 20.9 percent lower than the average gross hourly earnings of male employees in Estonia in October 2017 and after three years of decrease, the gender pay gap remained at the same level as in the previous year.

In October 2017, the average gross hourly earnings without irregular bonuses and premiums were 6.26 euros for female employees and 7.91 euros for male employees. Compared to 2016, gross hourly earnings increased 3.7 percent for both female and male employees, Statistics Estonia said.

While in 2014–2016, the gross hourly earnings of female employees rose faster than the gross hourly earnings of male employees, which is the main reason for the decrease in the pay gap, that is the difference between the hourly earnings of male and female employees, in 2017, the rise in the gross hourly earnings was equal.

In 2017, the gender pay gap was the biggest in financial and insurance activities with 38.2 percent, where the gross hourly earnings of male employees rose 7.3 percent compared to a year earlier, while the gross hourly earnings of female employees remained relatively constant, decreasing 1.1 percent.

After financial and insurance activities, the next biggest pay gaps were recorded in mining and quarrying with 31.1 percent, wholesale and retail trade with 28.1 percent, manufacturing with 28 percent and human health and social work activities with 27.9 percent. The difference between the gross hourly earnings of male and female employees was the smallest in water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities with 5.9 percent, transportation and storage with 5.1 percent and other service activities with 1.1 percent. 

Compared to 2016, the gender pay gap increased the most in financial and insurance activities, by 5.2 percentage points, transportation and storage, by 5.1 percentage points, and professional, scientific and technical activities, by 4.2 percentage points, and decreased the most in other service activities, by 6.7 percentage points, and in arts, entertainment and recreation, by 6.6 percentage points. In the past five years, the gender pay gap has decreased the most in other service activities and in education and increased the most in human health and social work activities.

With regard to type of ownership, the pay gap in institutions and enterprises owned by the state and municipalities was smaller than in enterprises owned by Estonian or foreign private entities. This was the case also in previous years. In 2017, the pay gap in state institutions and enterprises was 18.4 percent and in municipal institutions and enterprises 12.2 percent, whereas the pay gap in the enterprises owned by Estonian private entities was 19.2 percent and in the enterprises owned by foreign private entities 30.8 percent.

The pay gap in the public sector, that is state and municipal institutions and enterprises, and private sector, that is enterprises owned by Estonian and foreign private entities, was almost the same – 22.4 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively.

In 2017, the pay gap was the biggest in East-Viru County with 27.9 percent, followed by Jarva County with 25.6 percent, Hiiu County with 25.3 percent and Voru County with 24.0 percent and the smallest in Saare County with 11.3 percent, Polva County with 12.9 percent, West-Viru County with 14.3 percent and Rapla County with 15.0 percent.

Statistics Estonia and Eurostat use different population to calculate the gender pay gap. Although Eurostat receives data from the statistical offices of the Member States, the pay gap published by Eurostat does not take into account the indicators of enterprises and institutions with fewer than 10 employees, it also excludes the earnings of employees in agriculture, forestry and fishing and in public administration and defence. According to Eurostat's calculations, the gender pay gap in Estonia is the biggest in the European Union, 25.3 percent in 2016. According to Statistics Estonia, the gender pay gap in Estonia in 2016 was 20.9 percent, taking into account all enterprises and institutions and all economic activities.

Statistics Estonia has calculated the pay gap since 1994. In 2017, the sample included around 12,300 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The gender pay gap is calculated by deducting the average gross hourly earnings of female employees from the average gross hourly earnings of male employees, divided by the average gross hourly earnings of male employees and expressed as a percentage. The calculated average gross hourly earnings do not include irregular bonuses and premiums.