Estonia is the leading brain business hub of Eastern Europe

Baltic: Estonia is the leading brain business hub of Eastern Europe

  • 7.7% of Estonia’s working-age population is employed in brain business jobs, making Estonia the leading knowledge nation of Eastern Europe
  • Since 2014, the concentration of brain business jobs has increased with 35% in Estonia, making the country one of the fastest growers in Europe

The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2022 Index, from ECEPR, with support from Nordic Capital, measures the share of the working age population across Europe employed in highly knowledge-intensive enterprises, in 31 countries and 284 regions.

Estonia is the leading brain business hub of Eastern Europe

No other Eastern European country has as high of a concentration of brain business jobs as Estonia. With the importance these jobs play in the modern economy, this is a good sign for the economic future of Estonia.

In addition, and 37 percent of its population is employed in high-value creation sectors (brain business jobs, manufacturing industries jobs, and professional services jobs).

Brain business jobs are important to fight unemployment

We measure what percentage of the population in each European region is employed in brain business jobs, manufacturing industries, and professional services. These three parts of the economy are highly value-creating sectors. Our finding is that a region where 10 percentage points or more of the population, compared to the European average, work in these parts of the economy, on average have 2.2 percent lower unemployment,

explains Dr. Nima Sanandaji, director of ECEPR.

Knowledge jobs are resilient to crisis

Knowledge is the foundation for attracting investments and creating value in a long- term sustainable way. Through the annual brain business jobs index, we keep an eye on the knowledge-intensive jobs of Europe. We find that these jobs are resilient against crises, and that regions with many brain business jobs tend to have considerably lower unemployment,

says Klas Tikkanen, Chief Operating Officer at Nordic Capital Advisors.

Estonia one of the fastest growing European knowledge nations

Since 2014, the concentration of brain business jobs in Estonia has increased with 35%. That makes Estonia the country with the seventh highest growth in all of Europe, ahead of countries such as Finland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Estonia’s weaknesses and strengths

Compared to the rest of Europe, Estonia has strengths in high-tech manufacturing, IT services, and programming. It lags behind the rest of Europe in pharmaceuticals, research & development, as well as in engineering & architecture.

The top 15 countries with the highest concentration of brain business jobs in Europe

CountryShare of knowledge-intensive occupations %
United Kingdom8,1

Brain business jobs are occupations within knowledge-intensive industries. The report is available on the ECEPR webpage here. For questions, contact [email protected].

by Andreea Ioana Sutac
The Baltic Review
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