The analysis suggests that between the years 2000 and 2003 the desire to work abroad has decreased in most population groups aged 15 to 64. This could be caused by an increased awareness of the opportunity to work abroad, the improved economic climate, and economic expectations from European Union membership.

Although about half of the respondents would like to work abroad, 75% of them would do this occasionally or for a few months. A large number of people who wish to work abroad have not made any preparations or are not adequately informed. The rate of people who fully intend to work abroad on a permanent basis is approximately 3%. The number of people wanting to find a permanent job abroad is very small (9%).

“All in all it can be said – and this has also been confirmed by other studies – that there is no reason to be afraid of large-scale emigration of labour in the coming years.”

The desire to go abroad is bigger among men, young people, undergraduates, and students. The study showed that the percentage of people with higher education among those who intend to work abroad is lower than estimated in previous studies. Although most people are satisfied with their current salaries, the main incentive for working abroad is a larger salary. The main obstacle for working abroad is the family and home that would be left back in Estonia. The preferred destination is Finland, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom.

People wish to find work that is equivalent to what they are doing in Estonia and receive a salary comparable to that of the residents of the destination country (60%). Nevertheless, people are often willing to accept a position with lower qualification or settle for a lower salary than locals on similar jobs (40%).

Like previous studies, the study shows that mostly young people want to work abroad. It can be concluded, however, that the number of people in Estonia going to work abroad is relatively small, meaning that this will probably not create problems for the labour market in general.

See also

External migration by country on the Statistics Estonia homepage