Estonia: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 18 Prosinec 2013



About
Country:
Estonia
Author:
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Working conditions of young entrants have not been studied in Estonia. Since youth unemployment has been in focus since the start of the crisis, the issue of young entrants has not been a priority for social partners and the government and therefore no specific measures to improve the working conditions of young entrants have been implemented. Data on young persons in general shows however that compared to older age groups they seem to have fewer opportunities to determine their work arrangements.

Introduction

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

1.1. Career and employment security issues

There are no studies or statistics about working conditions of young entrants. Thus the following is mainly based on the statistics about working conditions among the age group 15-24.

In 2012 the employment rate among 15-24 year olds (32.2%) was much lower compared to other age groups (e.g. 79.5% among 25-49 and 51.2% among 50-74 year olds), however low employment rate among young persons can probably be explained by the fact that most persons in that age group are in the middle of their studies At the same time, the usage of part-time work is the highest among young employees (18.6% compared to 7.2% among 25-49 and 14.1% among 50-74 year olds). Compared to 25-49 year olds, young people aged 15-24 use less telework (in 2011, 7.2% and 3.9% respectively).

Regarding work organisation (see Table 1), according to Statistics Estonia Work Life Survey (2009) the share of those who said that they do not have any autonomy to determine their work assignments was the highest among 15-24 year olds.Compared to 25-49 and 50 and older persons, young employees also have fewer opportunities to set their work methods.. There are no significant differences in the right to determine ones work pace by age groups, but the share of those who find that they have not enough possibilities to determine their work pace is the highest among 15-24 year olds.. Also, the share of 15-24 year olds who said they have the right to determine the start and end of their work time was lower compared to other age groups..

Table 1. Work organisation by age groups, 2009 (in %)
 

15-24

25-49

50-older

Do not have any autonomy to determine work assignments

42

21

32

Enough opportunities to set work methods

66

61

59

Do not have enough possibilities to determine work pace

25

18

20

Right to determine the start and end of working time

18

25

20

Source: Statistics Estonia Work Life Survey 2009

Compared to other age groups the average working time per week among 15-24 year olds is shorter. In 2011, the average working time per week among 15-24 year olds was 37.2 compared to 39.5 among 25-49 year olds and 37.7 among 50-74 year olds. At the same time, the proportion of over-time work is the highest among younger workers aged 15-24. In 2011, the proportion of over-time work was 11.5 among 15-24 year olds compared to 10.5 among 25-49 and 8.7 among 50-74 year olds.

1.2 Skills development

According to the Statistics Estonia Work Life Survey (2009) half (51% ) of the 15-24 years old employees have used the opportunities offered by their employer to develop their knowhow, which is 12 p.p. lower compared to employees aged 25-49.

1.3 Health and well being

According to Work Life Survey (2009), employees aged 15-24 have visited the occupational health doctor for health surveillance the least compared to all other age groups. According to the data, 52.2% of young employees had not visited occupational health doctor compared to 38% among those aged 25-49 and 35% among those aged 50-64.

According to The Labour Inspectorate (Tööinspektsioon) the number of occupational accidents among 15-24 year olds is lower compared to other age groups (767 compared to 1016 among 25-34 year olds in 2012). However, since the employment rate of 15-24 year olds is almost twice lower than that among 25-49 year olds, the percentage of occupational accidents among young employees can be considered relatively high.

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

According to Statistics Estonia, 73% of employees aged 15-24 had the start and end of a working day determined by the employer in 2010. Compared to other age groups (25-49 and 50-64) there is slightly more (14%) working time banking among young employees than for 25-64 years old (10.9%).

Younger persons generally have more possibilities to change their working time arrangements compared to older workers as 41% of the 15-24 year olds stated that it is generally possible to change working time arrangements, while in age group 25-49 the share was 38% and for 50-64 years old, 33%.

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

The employment rate among 15-24 year old men in 2012 was higher compared to women (33% and 31% respectively). Recent study made by Roots (2011) showed that the pattern of entering the labour market does not depend on gender. However there are some gendered differences in the process of entering the employment as well as in working as a young entrant (see block 3 below). According to the Gender Equality Monitor (Vainu et al. 2010) women are more often asked about their marital status, during the recruitment process (34% of 15-19 year old women and 25% of men have experienced questions about their marital status; in case of 20-29-years old 61% of the women and 43% of men have been asked whether they are married or not).

According to the study made by Anspal et al (2010) the gender wage gap among 15-24 year olds was 21.3% in years 2000-2008, which was lower than that among 25-34 year olds (30.8%).

Overall, there are no specific surveys about the associations between the working conditions and employee’s educational level. However, among other factors, Roots (2011) analysed the impact of education on entering the labour market (see block 3 below).

Young persons aged 15-24 living in urban settlements have better perspective to enter labour market compared to those who live in rural settlements as the employment rate among 15-24 year olds living in urban settlements is 34% compared to 28% living in rural settlements.

Also there are ethnic inequalities in entering the labour market in Estonia. The unemployment rate among 15-24 year old non-Estonians is much higher than that among Estonians (in 2012 27.6% and 18.3% respectively). The analysis made by Lindemann (2009) showed that non-Estonians who are proficient in Estonian language are less successful labour market entrants compared to ethnic Estonians. Also in case of similar educational levels young Estonians (aged 15-26) are more successful labour market entrants than non-Estonians, who achieve significantly lower occupational status in their first job. The ethnicity and Estonian language skill give a significant advantage in entering the labour market. In terms of occupational status, the non-Estonians who do not speak Estonian are the least successful group in entering the labour market.

The difference of working conditions within young entrants to the labour market has not been specifically studied. Thus, it is difficult to provide reasons and rationale of possible differences among the working conditions for young entrants. The only study on entering the labour market by Roots (2011) showed that many different aspects influence one’s success on entering the labour market. The results of the study are described more thoroughly below (see block 3).

2.2 Occupational characteristics

Working conditions in different sectors have not been studied in Estonia. Also, there are no studies conducted in Estonia, where the relationship between age and working conditions is analysed. There are two studies that analysed the earnings of the graduates of vocational education institutions (Nestor et al 2012) and of Estonian universities (Tartu University 2011a).

According to the study by Nestor et al (2012) the income among vocational education graduates who worked in the field of public administration or national defence was the highest. The lowest income rate was in the education, health care and social welfare sector, where the average wage level was 36% lower than in public administration and national defence. According to the study by Tartu University (2011a) the highest income is earned by graduates of social or technical faculties and lowest by graduates whose subject field was education, humanities, arts or agriculture.

There is no general information or surveys conducted in Estonia, where working conditions of young entrants by company size are studied.

There is no general information or surveys about the working conditions of young people by occupations.

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes

There have been some changes in the working conditions of young persons aged 15-24 in last five years. The share of part-time work has increased from 12.9% in 2008 to 18.6% in 2012 with a peak of 21.2% in 2010. The part-time of young women reaches up to 25% in 2012 (19% in 2008).

The share of young people working evening hours has increased from 45% in 2008 to 52% in 2011. Also, share of young teleworkers has increased from 1.8% in 2008 to 3.9% in 2011(Ministry of Social Affairs 2012).

Regarding young entrants, there is only one study that has analysed the path of entrance and working conditions of young entrants in Estonia. The study made by Roots (2011) analysed Estonian Social Survey data from 2006 and 2009 to analyse persons who had started their first regular job (lasting at least 6 months and 20 hours per week) during the previous calendar year (468 persons with average age of 22 years). Sequence analysis was carried out where most typical entrance patterns were revealed, taking into account also the timing of the transitions from one state to another.

Roots (2011) revealed that entering the labour market for the first time was easier in 2005 than in 2008. During the economic boom, majority of the entrants moved relatively fast to full-time jobs, while during the crisis the entering was slower and entering patterns much more diverse. On average, in 2005, 58% of entrants were full-time employed most of the year, compared to only 46% in 2008. By the end of 2008, entrants were more spread across different statuses (e.g. part-time job, part-time or full-time entrepreneurship, unemployment, studying). This trend is more visible for men than women. Moreover, in 2005 entering labour market full-time resulted in more steady job than in 2008 where many ended up being unemployed by the end of the year. Entering part-time jobs was not very common in either year (5% in 2005, 7% in 2008). Those with rocky start had episodes of inactivity or unemployment during the year (13% in 2005 and 15% in 2008) (Roots 2011).

In 2008, 24% entered labour market straight from the school (i.e. starting from summer months after the school ended), while in 2008 the share was 32%. Another study shows that most young people combine education and work– in 2008 (Mägi et al 2010) 66% of university students were employed and although the share of those students who were employed decreased from 2008 to 2010, it still remained quite high (56%). Only 23% of students didn’t have any work experience by the beginning of their studies (Kirss et al 2011).

From all the factors analysed, the economic cycle had the strongest impact on the first time entrance to the labour market (Roots 2011). During economic crisis the possibilities of young men entering the labour market have narrowed down and entering full time employment became less likely than during the economic boom. Also, young educated men who entered labour market in 2006 had a strong advantage in terms of income by earning on average €192 per month more than men with secondary education. In 2009 they had lost their advantage. Opposite trend was visible for women – in 2006 high education gave no advantage over secondary education, while in 2009 the highly educated women earned on average €190 per month more than those with secondary education.

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

There are no such studies conducted in Estonia.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

There are no measures implemented by public authorities that aim to improve the employment opportunities and working conditions specifically for young entrants. Career counselling and guidance system in Estonia is targeted at all young persons aged 7-26. The information and counselling is provided by regional youth information and counselling centres. Young persons who study in higher education can learn about career counselling from career centres settled in their educational institution, registered unemployed persons regardless of their age can get career guidance from Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) and career information provided by the EUIF is available to everyone. Thus, currently free career counselling is only available to persons aged up to 26, who study or who are unemployed.

According to a study on career services made in 2011, one of the major problems of the current system is the fact that career guidance services are not available to employed persons. Hence, in March 2013, Foundation Innove, main organisation responsible for the coordination of the development and implementation of career services in Estonia, decided to pilot a new measure and widen free career services provision to employed adults without professional training from March to September 2013. The decision was based on the findings of the above-mentioned study (according to the study 61% of 25-64 year-olds are planning a study- or work-related change in their life and 90% of those persons said that they would need counselling in order to make those changes). Still, career services are not available to all employed persons.

There are no studies of the impact of the career services on the labour market outcomes of the young entrants. There are some studies that show, however, that the provision and quality of career services is not sufficient and should be improved (Nestor et al 2012, Tartu University 2011b). In order to improve the career services system as a whole, the long-term concept for years 2013-2020 has been developed (Innove 2012).

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

Neither Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) nor Estonian Employers’ Confederation (ETTK) has launched initiatives to improve the working conditions among young entrants specifically. In recent years other issues such as high unemployment among young persons and large share of young persons that are not in education, in employment or training have been in focus and the issue of working conditions for young entrants has not been a priority for social partners. Nevertheless, EAKL brought out that they have a youth committee, where different problems young persons’ face in the labour market and possible solutions are discussed. For 2013, the committee has planned seminars for trade union members up to 35 year-olds to provide information on topics such as Employment Contracts Act, improving collective bargaining negotiations skills and psychology. EAKL has also stood against employers idea to set a lower national minimum wage for young workers arguing that the national minimum wage is already very low (in 2013, the national minimum wage is €320 which is around 40% of average wage). Overall, while according to EAKL, working conditions for young employees are discussed in the collective bargaining negotiations, no distinction between young entrants and other employees is made in collective agreements.

ETTK together with Smart Work Association and EUIF launched a project „Nupp tööle“ (translates as „Button to work“), lasting from May 2012 to May 2013. The project is funded by European Social Fund. Around 200 young persons aged 16-24 years who are not in employment, education nor active in entrepreneurship are involved into the project. The aim of the project was to help them find suitable jobs (as opposed to any job) through active labour market services. As at January 2012, 60 of the participants had found a job, mainly in manufacturing and service sector.

Commentary by the NC

The issue of young entrants and their working conditions has not been on authorities and social partners’ agenda. During the crisis, unemployment, especially youth unemployment sharply increased and has remained high even after the peak of the crisis. Thus, the overall discussion has been revolving around what should be done to decrease youth unemployment with a special focus on decreasing the mismatch between education and labour market needs. Therefore, the issue of working conditions for young entrants has been on the background, the issue has not been studied and no specific measures have been implemented to improve the working conditions of young entrants.

References:

Liina Osila, Pirjo Turk, Marre Karu, Praxis Center for Policy Studies

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Přidat komentář