In the 3rd quarter, the growth of average wages and salaries accelerated

news release no 121

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2018, the average monthly gross wages and salaries of enterprises, institutions and organisations were 1,291 euros, having increased by 7.5% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2017. The year-on-year growth in average monthly gross wages and salaries was 1.1 percentage points faster than in the previous quarter.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries were 1,296 euros in July, 1,286 euros in August and 1,292 euros in September. Compared to the previous quarter, the average monthly gross wages and salaries decreased by 2.3%. Without irregular bonuses and premiums, the average monthly gross wages and salaries remained at the same level as in the previous quarter. In the 3rd quarter of 2018 compared to the 2nd quarter of 2018, irregular bonuses and premiums decreased by 41% per employee and were 9% higher than in the 3rd quarter of 2017. Irregular bonuses and premiums did not affect the year-on-year increase in average monthly gross wages and salaries. Without irregular bonuses and premiums, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased also by 7.5% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Real wages, which take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, increased slower in comparison with the 3rd quarter of 2017 than the average monthly gross wages and salaries due to an increase in consumer prices. The year-on-year growth in real wages accelerated compared to the previous quarter and real wages increased by 3.8% in the 3rd quarter. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, real wages have been increasing since the second half of 2011.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the average hourly gross wages and salaries were 7.51 euros, remaining at the same level as in the previous quarter.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the average monthly gross wages and salaries continued to be highest in financial and insurance activities (2,066 euros) and in information and communication (2,181 euros). Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2017, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in other service activities (incl. activities of organisations, repair of household goods, services), where the average monthly gross wages and salaries are among the lowest. The year-on-year growth in this economic activity is due to an increase in minimum wages as well as a change in Statistics Estonia’s wage statistics methodology, according to which since 2018 also non-profit organisations with less than 50 employees are included.

In the 3rd quarter, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased notably also in education. In addition to an increase in labour costs, the increase was also affected by the distribution of holiday pay between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. While in the 3rd quarter of 2017, holiday pay accounted for 31% of the total amount of gross wages and salaries of the economic activity, in 2018, it accounted for 37%.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased in all economic activities, excluding administrative and support service activities, where the average monthly gross wages and salaries decreased by 3.1%; the increase was more modest in information and communication (3.4%), transportation and storage (4.1%) and real estate activities (4.1%).

The average monthly gross wages and salaries were highest in state institutions and enterprises (1,562) and in enterprises owned by foreign private entities (1,533 euros). The year-on-year increase in average monthly gross wages and salaries in the 3rd quarter of 2018 was fastest in municipal and state institutions and enterprises.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, by county, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were highest in Harju (1,435 euros) and Tartu (1,272 euros) counties and lowest in Hiiu (927 euros) and Valga (968 euros) counties. Monthly gross wages and salaries increased in all counties. The year-on-year growth in average monthly gross wages and salaries was fastest in Põlva and Saare counties and slowest in Võru and Lääne-Viru counties. Since the 1st quarter of 2018, data by county are presented based on the new administrative division.

According to the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey, in the 3rd quarter of 2018, the number of employees converted to full-time units was 2.5% higher than in the 3rd quarter of 2017, remaining at the same level as in the 2nd quarter of 2018. The biggest year-on-year increase in the number of employees in full-time units occurred in other service activities, arts, entertainment and recreation activities and in real estate activities. The change in these economic activities is largely due to the inclusion of non-profit organisations with less than 50 employees in the wages and salaries survey.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the average monthly labour costs per employee were 1,733 euros and the hourly labour costs 12.21 euros. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2017, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased by 7.1%.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries per employee and the change, 1st quarter 2016 – 3rd quarter 2018
Year Quarter Average monthly gross wages and salaries, euros Change on same period of previous year, %
2016 I 1,091 8.1
  II 1,163 7.6
  III 1,119 7.1
  IV 1,182 6.9
2017 I 1,153 5.7
  II 1,242 6.8
  III 1,201 7.4
  IV 1,271 7.5
2018 I 1,242 7.7
  II 1,321 6.4
  III 1,291 7.5

Average monthly gross wages and salaries per employee by economic activity, 3rd quarter, 2017–2018

Statistics Estonia conducts the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey on the basis of an international methodology since 1992. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full-time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked or irregular premiums. In short-term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees.

The statistics are based on the questionnaire “Wages and salaries and labour force”, the deadline of which was 18 October 2018. Statistics Estonia published the quarterly summary in 30 working days. For the statistical activity “Wages and salaries”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activity.

Since 2018, the samples and questionnaires of statistical activities “Wages and salaries” and “Job vacancies and labour turnover” have been combined. Data are collected with the new questionnaire “Wages and salaries and labour force”, which replaced the previous questionnaires “Wages and salaries” and “Wages and salaries by county”. Since the 1st quarter of 2018, changes have been made in the population and sample: the sample was optimised and non-profit organisations with less than 50 employees were included in the population.

Since the 1st quarter of 2018, data by county have been published according to the new administrative division.

For further information:

Kai Maasoo
Leading Analyst
Enterprise and Agricultural Statistics Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel. +372 625 9327

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database.