1. About EstoniaEstonia
  2. Working conditions
  3. Sectors and companies that are recruiting
  4. Applying for a job
  5. Major recruitment pointers
  6. Recruitment Resources and networks

1. About Estonia

Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia’s successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current government has followed relatively sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and very low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Tallinn’s priority has been to sustain high growth rates – on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. Estonia’s economy slowed down markedly and fell sharply into recession in mid-2008, primarily as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble. GDP dropped nearly 14% in 2009, among the world’s highest rates of contraction. Rising exports to Sweden and Finland lead an economic recovery in 2010, but unemployment stands above 17%. Estonia joined the OECD in December 2010 and adopted the euro in January 2011.

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Population: 1.3 million

GDP per inhabitant (2010): USD 19.100,-

Unemployment rate (09/10): 16.9%

2. Working conditions

Finding work in Estonia in the present climate may prove to be difficult. Like many countries, the effects of the worldwide economic downturn have had a big impact on Estonia’s small working population. Unemployment is at 16.9% and is expected to rise as industries stop any new employment. However, Estonia is more financially stable than some neighbouring states and prior to the financial crisis, was growing at a swift rate. Tallinn, the country’s capital, will be European Capital of Culture in 2011, which will bring investment and interest to the area.

Estonian business practices are generally formal. Greetings and exchanges are reserved, softly spoken and conducted without excessive hand gestures. Estonians are very punctual and lateness is considered disrespectful. Organisations are hierarchical and status should be acknowledged. Using correct titles of address is very important.

Read more: Information about Working conditions in Estonia from

Legal working hours : 40.0 hours per week.

Length of trial / notice period: 4 to 6 months. / 1 to 4 months.

Employment formalities: Under the terms of Estonian law, foreign citizens require a residence permit as well as a work permit for permanent employment. Foreigners do not require a work permit if the term of employment is less than six months per year, but they must register with the relevant authorities. The immigration authorities maintain a central processing office for EU citizens in Tallinn.

3. Sectors that are recruiting

Manufacturing, FMCG, IT, Telecom, Public sector, Finance.

Companies that are recruiting: Industries: Elcoteq, Estonian Energy; IT and Telco: Tele2; FMCG: Rimi, etc.

4. Applying for a job

Application documents: Motivation letter: short and clear, stating the motivation and brief summary of professional background, including position. CV in Estonian and/or English. CV is usually submitted via e-mail or via electronic recruitment environment.

Advice regarding the CV: CV on one or two sheets. CV format comprises personal data in the beginning, followed by education submitted stating from the latest acquiered education and training, providing the period of studies, name of school, studied speciality, acquired qualification or degree. This is followed by professional experience submitted, stating from the last job (organisation, position, role, results, figures); language skills, hobbies, activities at on professional level and which he/she engages in spare time; recommendations: not obligatory.

5. Major recruitment pointers

Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews:You will make a good impression to the employer when you know the background of the company you wish to work for. The more you know about the company and the position, the better are your chances to get the job. Be prepared to answer the questions asked during the interview and think of questions you would like to ask the employer. Prior to going to the interview prepare the necessary documents. Bring along your CV, information on the company you think you may need; if the recommendations are on a different paper than the CV, bring that as well. Wear smart outfit, shake hands with recruiter.

Languages you must be able to speak: Estonian, English, Russian.

Flagship training:Tartu University (medicine, law, economy, languages, chemistry, biology); Tallinn Technical University (engineering, technology); EBS (business administration).

Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: The annual total compensation comprises base salary, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual incentives (varies depending on the company), fixed bonuses. Above that, companies may also pay their employees with long-term incentives (period longer than 1 year). More often non-monetary fringe benefits e.g. company car and compensation for cell phone expenses are paid on top of salaries. Average salaries listed in Personal income tax is 21%; unemployment tax 1%. Social tax is paid by the employer and it is 33% of employees’ total compensation.

6. Recruitment resources and networks

Important business networking sites:

Where to network:
Professional associations, alumni, PARE (; Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Estonia.