Compared to the other central European countries, Estonia has a relatively high GDP per capita. The economy has experienced growth in recent years, with several flourishing industries. Russia’s use of Estonian ports for some of its oil exports also contributes to Estonia’s growth rate.
Service industries make up 71% of Estonia’s GDP. The second largest industry in Estonia is wood, employing over 13,000 people in forestry and the manufacture of wood products and paper. A growth sector in Estonia is the manufacture of electronic and optical equipment, serving the computer, telecommunications, and medical industries.
Estonia is known for its engineering and one of the country’s key industries is machinery manufacturing. Metal is one of the major export sectors, with approximately 82% of metals produced in Estonia being exported, primarily to countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Poland.
As of September 2013, the Estonian authorities ceased to issue separate work permits. All foreigners who have a residence permit to live in the country are usually permitted to work in Estonia, unless there is a legal reason that prohibits it. However, if a temporary residence permit has been granted to a person on the basis of legal income, he or she is not allowed to work in Estonia. A spouse or other family member of an EU citizen will require their own residence permit in order to work in Estonia.
There are plenty of career opportunities in IT and engineering and there is always a market for English teachers in Estonia. There are also many expats in Estonia who have their own business.
Although many Estonians speak English, particularly in the cities, if you want to maximize your range of job opportunities, it is advisable to become reasonably fluent in Estonian. It is a complex language, but taking the trouble to learn it will allow you to access opportunities that would not otherwise be open to you.