The biggest gender pay gap is in finance and insurance

According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2014, the gross hourly earnings of female employees were 23.3% lower than the gross hourly earnings of male employees. The gender pay gap decreased by 1.5 percentage points compared to the previous year.

The gross hourly earnings without irregular bonuses and premiums were 4.89 euros for female employees and 6.37 euros for male employees. Compared to 2013, hourly earnings increased 6.7% for females and 4.7% for males. This was the main reason for the decrease in the gender pay gap (the difference between the hourly earnings of male and female employees).

In 2014, the gender pay gap remained the highest in financial and insurance activities (38.3%), where the gross hourly earnings of female employees were 7.81 euros and those of male employees were 12.65 euros. Compared to 2013, the gap decreased by 3.5 percentage points in this economic activity.

The pay gap was present in all economic activities, but the smallest difference between the gross hourly earnings of male and female employees was in water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation services, in which male employees’ hourly earnings were 1.4% higher than of those of female employees.

With regard to major groups of occupation, the biggest difference between the hourly earnings of male and female employees was among craft and related trades workers (31.2%) and the smallest among skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers (5.8%).Diagram: The difference between the gross hourly earnings of female and male employees, 2014

Statistics Estonia and Eurostat use different methodologies to calculate the gender pay gap. The gender 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 one of the highest in the European Union (29.9% in 2013). According to Statistics Estonia, the gender pay gap in Estonia in 2013 was 24.8%, taking into account all enterprises and institutions and all economic activities.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of male and female employees, divided by the average gross hourly earnings of male employees, and is expressed as a percentage.

The average gross earnings, as used in the calculation of the gender pay gap, do not include irregular bonuses and premiums.

Statistics Estonia conducts the survey “Structure of Earnings” since 2005 based on international methodology. The survey is conducted for October. Since 2010, the survey is conducted every four years. It is a thorough survey of earnings which provides the consumers with more detailed data compared to the quarterly wages statistics. The data of the survey reflect the number of employees, structure and earnings by occupation, economic activity, age, sex, type of contract, full-time and part-time work and education. In the years between two “Structure of Earnings” surveys, data is only collected about the number of male and female employees, the number of hours worked and the earnings.

Consumer price index decreased for the 4th consecutive month

According to Statistics Estonia, the change of the consumer price index in September 2015 was -0.6% compared to August 2015 and -0.7% compared to September of the previous year.

Compared to September 2014, goods were 1.2% cheaper and services 0.2% more expensive. Regulated prices of goods and services have fallen by 3.2% and non-regulated prices risen by 0.1 % compared to September of the previous year.

Compared to September 2014, the consumer price index was influenced the most by motor fuel, which has become 18.3% cheaper. 5.1% cheaper electricity, heat energy and fuels also had a bigger impact on the index, as heat energy was 5.1% and the electricity that arrived at homes 4.7% cheaper than in the same month of the previous year. The prices of milk and dairy products have decreased 7.1%. Out of the products which became more expensive, alcoholic beverages had the biggest impact on the index, as their prices have increased 7.3% compared to the previous year. Compared to September 2014, of food products, the prices of dried fruit and nuts (24%) and fish (14%) have increased the most, whereas the prices of milk and butter have decreased the most (15% and 8%, respectively).

Compared to August 2015, the consumer price index was influenced the most by motor fuel, the prices of which fell 4.9%. The implementation of the higher education reform, which enables free higher education for all first-, second- and third-year students who have begun full-time studies in a higher education institution on a programme taught in Estonian, and the end of the summer sales of clothing and footwear also had a bigger impact on the index.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

The growth in retail sales decelerated slightly

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2015 compared to August of the previous year, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises increased 8% at constant prices. In July, the retail sales increased 9% compared to the same month of the previous year, whereas in August the retail sales growth decelerated slightly.

In August 2015, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 454.8 million euros, which was 346 euros per inhabitant.

The retail sales growth in stores selling manufactured goods slowed down markedly in August. The retail sales of those stores increased 23% in July compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, whereas in August the increase was 15%. Sales increased in all economic activities. The retail sales via mail order or the Internet increased the most, with sales increasing 40% compared to the same month of the previous year. A higher than average increase in retail sales occurred also in other specialised stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, photography supplies, books, sports equipment, games and toys, flowers, plants etc. (36% growth) and in stores selling second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale) (19% growth).

The retail sales in grocery stores increased 3% compared to August 2014.

The retail sales of automotive fuel increased 9% at constant prices compared to August of the previous year, which was a significantly faster growth than in July. The acceleration in the growth in the retail sales of automotive fuel was partly influenced by the acceleration in the price decrease of automotive fuel. In July of this year the annual price decrease of automotive fuel was 11.6%, while in August it was 14.4%.

Compared to the previous month, in August, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased 4% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, the decrease was 1%. During the eight months (January–August) of 2015, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises increased 8% at constant prices compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

In August, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 529.2 million euros, out of which the retail sales of goods accounted for 86%. Compared to August 2014, the turnover increased by 5% at constant prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator decreased 5%.Diagram: Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend

The statistics are based on the questionnaire “Turnover”, the deadline of which was 15.09.2015, and on the VAT declaration data from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary in 11 working days.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Exports and imports were down in August

The flash estimate1 put the Estonian current account at 6 million euros in surplus in July 2015. Exports and imports of goods, services and investment income were all down in August. Exports and imports of other income were boosted by the active use of subsidies from the European Union Structural Funds and by transfers to the European Union budget. The total volume of credit and debit on the current account has been smaller than a year previously for five consecutive months, which indicates that activity has declined recently in the Estonian external economy.

Eesti Pank is publishing the flash estimate of the balance of payments monthly for the last month but one. The statistics on the third quarter of 2015 will be published with a comment on 9 December.


1 The quarterly balance of payments is compiled from a combined system of representative primary data sources, including surveys of companies, while the monthly balance of payments draws from a considerably smaller database. Although the monthly report uses as much data available for the month reported as possible, including administrative data sources and reports on international payments, it is subjective to a certain degree, which is why it is called an estimate. Once the quarterly balance of payments is released, the monthly balances of payments are adjusted accordingly.

Source: Bank of Estonia (see graph here)

Governor of Eesti Pank praises Swedbank’s new cash service

Governor of Eesti Pank Ardo Hansson said that the decision by Swedbank to provide a permanent cash withdrawal facility in rural areas will improve access to cash in the smallest places in Estonia.

“Access to cash has been a major sore point for people in rural areas, and the new service that has been set up by Swedbank with local authorities and companies is a welcome relief to that. This multilateral cooperation that has allowed this new service to be set up must be acknowledged, and it is an example of a flexible solution that will improve access to cash”, he said.

He added that the new Swedbank service is an example of the bank adapting to circumstances where clients no longer need to deal with a member of bank staff to use the majority of bank services, but they still need the simplest possible permanent access to cash.

“I am very pleased that solutions like this, which have already been successfully employed in other countries, are now reaching the people of Estonia too,” said Mr Hansson. “I hope that in the future we will see cash services being supplied even more through local businesses, and that these services will reach as many people as possible in rural areas”.

In September last year Mr Hansson answered an interpellation by members of the Riigikogu about the accessibility of banking services in Estonia, in which he raised the point that flexible solutions have been used in other countries to supply cash to rural areas. One example he gave was the cashback system in shops, where people paying for their food in shops by card can add some extra to the total amount paid and then get that in cash from the shop. For this to work, the commercial banks need to allow shopkeepers to offer this service without charging them any percentage of the cash that is withdrawn. The banks would gain by having a more efficient cash network, shopkeepers would gain additional clients in their shops, and those clients would benefit by being able to withdraw cash more conveniently and securely.

Other solutions Mr Hansson named at the time included state service points; state tenders for service providers; requirements, or best practice guidelines that are generally adhered to, for the closure of bank branches, especially in rural areas; joint work by local governments and banks to train people; and joint work by local governments and banks to provide cash. The full text of Ardo Hansson’s answers can be found on the Eesti Pank website.

Source: Bank of Estonia