No. 25




Do Language Skills Help Find a Better Job?

  • Ott Toomet

    Ott Toomet, Senior Research Fellow of Microeconomics, University of Tartu

According to labour research, in Estonia good Estonian language skill of non-Estonians is connected with 5 percent points smaller unemployment rate. Surprisingly, its role in explaining better income is modest, because Russian men who can speak Estonian well do not earn more than Russian men who cannot speak Estonian at all.

In the case of women, good Estonian language skill is accompanied by about 10 percent increase in salary. This situation is caused both by gender and national segregation – women work more in professions where it is necessary to communicate in Estonian, and also more in workplaces where Estonian is spoken. Estonian language skill is important for the unemployed who speak Russian as their mother tongue and also to those employees who are in the risk of becoming unemployed. But highly qualified non-Estonian workers have more use of English than of Estonian.

Full article in Estonian