23Oct2018

IN PURSUIT OF PROSPERITY: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WORKING IN ESTONIA – Nikolay (RUSSIA)

When I was about to graduate from my Business Administration program here in Tartu I had many questions in my head. One of them, as you might guess, was “Where will I get money to live?”

Unfortunately, I did not have a startup back in a day to make a lot of money, so I decided to go and find a job here in Estonia. And I came to the point where most of you, my friends, probably are about to be: I did not know anything about the Estonian labor market.

How much do they pay?

So the first thing I did not know was what I could expect to earn in Estonia, and which industries paid the most. At the time I was not aware of websites which have been helpful to learn about such subjects, such as the Estonian website www.stat.ee, which I found helpful for locating the monthly salaries per employee in different industries in Estonia.

Source: https://www.stat.ee/news-release-2018-088

It does not necessarily tell how much I will receive, but it does tell me:

  1. How much people earn in different areas – check the graph above.
  2. What the average pay in Estonia is – €1300 gross per month.

Think wisely, you will not receive gross €2192 per month working in Finance if you are an entry level employee. But the site does give you an approximation and understanding of what you should realistically expect.

Where should I apply?

So now I know what they offer in different industries. But how can I find a position to apply to? Well, I partly covered it in my previous post on “How to find an internship”: https://isa.ut.ee/blog/how-to-find-an-internship-nikolay-russia/

But in a nutshell:

  1. Decide which industry you would like the company to operate in.
  2. Find a list of a companies in this industry.
  3. Find their career page.
  4. Apply for the position you like.

It would be an excellent practice to monitor the chosen companies’ positions from time to time and apply when the opportunity appears.

Lack of workforce? Stronger bargaining position!

From my personal experiences from talking to HR managers who work in Estonia, I came to understand that there currently is a low unemployment rate in Estonia. This means that companies are struggling to find high-skilled specialists in their team, meaning that current job-seekers have higher amounts of bargaining power than their predecessors may have enjoyed. It means that, if you are good at what you do and you find a relevant job, go for it and you may also get a better offer.

Finally, how to get more money in Estonia and some basic tax exemptions

There are taxes in all countries. However, not all taxation rates are the same. Estonia, for example, offers a potentially helpful basic tax exemption which may reduce your tax rate. If you did not hear about this basic exemption, the idea behind it is that if your monthly income is less than €1200 per month, 500 of that will not be taxed. Easy, right? And if it is less than €2100 per month some portion of it is still “tax-free”. You can check how much you will pay in taxes here: https://www.kalkulaator.ee/en/salary-calculator. But I would note that you might be required to fill in the form R to get the basic exemption. I would advise you to ask your Human Resources manager about it.

Well, that was a really quick overview of working in Estonia. We covered how to find what is in demand in Estonia (what they pay the most for), how to find a job and potentially receive a better offer, and how to potentially save a bit of money. These are some simple tips and I hope they will help you in your future endeavors.