In Brief

Lithuania Wants to Bring Home its Skilled Workers

VILNIUS - FEBRUARY 25: Many people choose books at the indoor book

With an unemployment rate of 7.5 per cent in August, Lithuania is facing a shortage of qualified workers. There are over 9,000 vacancies across the country and more than 70 per cent of employees claim finding workers is a challenge. Trying to solve the problem, Invest Lithuania, the country’s investment promotion agency, joined by over 30 foreign companies, has founded Work in Lithuania, a programme inviting emigrants back to the country.

As part of the initiative the agency has launched a website which provides information about available jobs as well as arguments on why it is worth pursuing a career in Lithuania.

“Rapidly increasing FDI in the form of shared service centres, as well as product development centres is attracting Lithuanians back to their home country,” Vytenis Šidlauskas, partner at Alliance for Recruitment, tells Emerging Europe.

“We are seeing huge interest daily from Lithuanians abroad, finding out about what’s happening here and which global companies are coming to Lithuania. These companies are no longer creating simple, back-office processing jobs. They have identified Lithuania as a place for highly skilled talent, too. As such, opportunities for educated Lithuanian expats have increased dramatically,” Mr Šidlauskas adds.

However, finding qualified specialists is a challenge not only in Lithuania but also in other countries across emerging Europe. Some of them, especially those with huge diasporas living and working in Western Europe – such as Poland and Romania – have also tried to attract their nationals back home. For example, at the end of 2016, 2.5 million Poles lived and worked abroad — 4.7 per cent more than a year earlier, according to Poland’s Statistical Office.

Statistics Lithuania says that since 2004, when the country joined the European Union, over 571,000 people have left the country to live and work abroad. Emigrants from Lithuania totalled 50,333 in 2016 alone, 13 per cent more than in 2015.

Emerging Europe asked Invest Lithuania about their unique approach to bringing emigrants home, but we have failed to receive a comment.

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  • As a lithuanian, all I can say is this: they will not attract anyone with such low wages and ridiculously overraised prices due to the euro. Living here is a complete burden. If the government were to stop being so stingy and complete thieves and increased wages so that people could actually live instead of just pointlessly existing due to spending all their wage money to taxes and food, we wouldn’t have a huge emmigration problem in the first place…

  • While costs like housing and food are on the lower scale of the EU (northern europe and western europe in particular, cheapest to live in Baltics), with the cost of living in Vilnius about one-half to one-third the cost of Western Europe, it’s no surprise that people don’t want to return to someplace where an average salary is about one-quarter what these people can, and do make elsewhere in the EU.

    Without an average salary of about 1400 Euro, nobody is coming to Vilnius, or Lithuania, except those who land well-paying jobs to entice them to come here.