Employment and Earnings

Table of content
1) Employment Rate
2) Earnings, Occupations and Economic Activities
3) Unemployment Rate
4) Part-Time Workers
5) Migration of Working-Age Population
5) Gender Equality Index – Work

Equal earnings are one of the key gender equality indicators, since they serve as the basis for benefits and pensions received in future. Regardless the fact that gender equality in the EU is stipulated by several regulatory enactments and Latvian legislation provides for equal rights to both genders, gender inequality in the labour market may be observed.

Employment Rate

In 2019, employment rate among males was 5.8 percentage points higher than that among females – 68.1 % and 62.3 %, respectively. EU average indicator is higher among males as well. Employment rate among females in Latvia was 6.7 percentage points and among males 1.7 percentage points higher than the EU average.

Regardless of the fact that Latvian legislation enhances gender equality in the labour market, e.g., by ensuring paid childcare leave, the greatest gender gap in employment may be observed among population aged 25–34 (8.4 percentage points), which is related to the fact that people tend to build families at this age and household as well as care duties are distributed unequally. In 2018, employment rate of females in households (consisting of population aged 25–49) having at least one child aged under six was 18.1 percentage points lower than that of males.


Earnings, Occupations and Economic Activities

Females more commonly are employed in lower salaried economic activities as well as sector of national economy having lower average wages and salaries. Craft and related trades workers was the most popular occupation among males (20.5 %) followed by plant and machine operators and assemblers (16.7 %), whereas among females those were professionals (23.9 %) and service and sales workers (21.8 %).

Females take leading positions in decision-making occupations less often than males. However, compared to the EU, Latvia takes the highest rankings in terms of share of female managers. In 2019, females accounted for 54.4 % of the employees occupying manager positions (37 % in the EU). Regardless of the fact that the indicator is comparatively high, women constitute only one third (31.7 %) of the members of the board of the largest Latvian companies.

Construction and manufacturing sectors are economic activities more popular among males, whereas trade as well as education sectors are the most popular among females. The largest share of females may be observed in human health and social care activities (88.3 %), while the largest share of males in construction (92.3 %).

In 2019, the average gross hourly earnings of Latvian women were by 15.9 % lower than those of men, i.e., for each euro a male employee earned female employee earned 84 cents.The smallest gender pay gap may be observed in the age group 55–64 (10.1 %) and 65+ (10 %).

Comparison of full-time and part-time employees shows that in Latvia earnings of part-time employed females are 12.4 % lower than that of males, while among full-time workers gender pay gap reaches 19.1 %. The greatest gender pay gap may be observed in financial and insurance activities (26 %).

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment rate among females is lower than among males – 5.4 % and 7.2 % (or that of males is 1.8 percentage points higher) in 2019.

Unemployment rate among Latvian women was 1.2 percentage points lower than the EU average, while that among Latvian men was 1.1 percentage points higher.


Part-Time Workers

In 2019, part-time work (i.e., less than 40 hours per week) was done by one tenth (11.9 %) of the employed women and twice fewer men (6.4 %). In the EU, in turn, one third (31.9 %) of women and one tenth (9.7 %) of men worked part time in 2019. The largest share of part-time working males was recorded in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria, while the smallest in Bulgaria.

Sometimes part-time employment is the only choice – inability to find a full-time job was the main reason mentioned for working part-time (it was indicated by 22 % of males and 22.2 % of females). Among women, 21.9 % were working part-time due to personal or family reasons (looking after children or incapacitated adults, etc.), while among men this reason was mentioned by 13.7 % of the part-time workers.


Migration of Working-Age Population

Greatest emigration wave started during the post-crisis years, when inhabitants of Latvia went abroad due to financial difficulties. People of working age (aged 25–34) constitute majority of the emigrants.

In 2018, males accounted for 54 % and females for 46 % of all emigrants. Most part (70 %) of the female emigrants was at childbearing age (aged 15–49).

In 2018, 7.4 thousand males and 3.5 thousand females arrived in Latvia for permanent residence (68 % and 32 % of all emigrants, respectively). Half of the immigrants also were aged 20–39 (55 % of men and 48 % of women).

International long-term migrants by age and sex, 2018

Graph - International long-term migrants by age and sex, 2018

Source: CSB Internet database (table number: IBG040)



Gender Equality Index – Work

Latvian Gender Equality Index2 calculated by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in the domain Work, which measures the extent to which women and men can benefit from equal access to employment and good working conditions, is assessed with 74.2 points, which is slightly above the EU average (72). In the domain Money, which measures gender inequalities in access to financial resources and women’s and men’s economic situation, Latvia is given 65.5 points, which is 14.9 points below the EU ranking (80.4). The low ranking is related to both gender pay gap and higher poverty risk among women.


See all data sources


Methodological explanations:

1 The indicator is estimated based on the Eurostat methodology using average gross hourly earnings of males as a base. The estimate covers all economic activities (except for agriculture, forestry, fishing and public administration) and all enterprises employing 10 persons or more. The average gender wage gap is calculated without excluding a range of influencing factors which would allow to explain the reasons behind the gap. They can be objective, for example, women work in sectors and professions having low average wage, or they may indicate to the discrimination in the labour market.

2 The index rating varies between 1 and 100, where 1 stands for absolute gender inequality and 100 for full gender equality.


Last edited: 19.06.2020.

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