28 December, 2021

Work in Lithuania opens free consultation sessions on hiring specialists from abroad

Are you interested in recruiting highly qualified specialists from abroad? Work in Lithuania offers Lithuanian companies, wishing to hire foreign nationals, free individual consultations on migration procedures, foreign labour markets and other topics relevant to businesses. We talked about the new service with Leila Mustafajeva, at Work in Lithuania.

What challenges do Lithuanian companies face when trying to attract talent?

Lithuania, just like other European countries, is currently facing a shortage of highly qualified labour force. The shortage is most keenly felt in the IT, finance, manufacturing, and technology sectors, and especially in areas related to software development. Despite their best efforts, Lithuanian universities are simply not turning out sufficient numbers of IT specialists. Personally, I’m of the opinion that even though educational institutions are likely to adapt to market demand over time, the lack of suitable talent remains a problem for the time being. On the other hand, young people who have recently graduated usually don’t have the experience necessary to overtake senior positions. Highly experienced specialists capable of training their younger colleagues are especially lacking in companies pushing for innovation, as well as foreign enterprises that invest in Lithuania.

How are Lithuanian employers solving their talent problem? What methods are they using to attract the specialists they need?

Lithuanian companies typically attract specialists in two ways. Given the high level of competition for in-demand specialists in the national market, companies often “prey on” each other’s employees by making attractive offers. The second method – frequently used by software development companies and IT service providers – involves fostering junior employees at the workplace. However, getting a young employee to a certain level of professional development is quite costly, both financially and in terms of human resources. Professional development takes time, and companies need experienced specialists here and now.

Are Lithuanian companies recruiting highly qualified specialists from abroad? Which types of specialists are recruited most often?

In Lithuanian companies, highly qualified foreign nationals are quite rare. A study conducted by the Government Strategic Analysis Centre in 2019 has shown that 83 per cent of foreign nationals employed in Lithuania are working low-skill jobs, and 8 per cent are highly skilled employees, accounting for only 1.5 per cent of the country’s highly qualified labour force. The ratio of highly qualified to low-skill foreign nationals is roughly ten to one, with the former growing much slower than the latter.

Most highly skilled foreign nationals are currently working in business administration positions. So far, Lithuania’s major business service centres have been willing to, and successful in, attracting highly skilled employees from abroad. And yet, openings in IT, engineering and finance sectors are rarely filled by foreign talent. Despite the efforts made by companies operating in these sectors to recruit highly qualified employees from abroad, the hiring process remains sluggish, especially compared to neighbouring countries.

Why do some companies hire foreign specialists, while others remain hesitant?

Lithuanian companies that employ foreign nationals often face challenges related to migration procedures. Recently, however, highly qualified third-country nationals have become subject to the simplified Blue Card immigration programme, which allows them to apply for work and residence permits in Lithuania, provided they meet the requirements . On 1 March, the programme was further simplified, making it easier for companies to attract talent from abroad. In addition, the employment conditions applicable to Master’s degree students were also recently streamlined, allowing them to start working without much delay. And when it comes to hiring specialists from the European Union, this has been quite simple for a while now because they are not required to obtain any special work permit.

Another significant problem is that companies who have never had employees from abroad don’t always know where to start – there is often a lack of knowledge about foreign markets, wages appropriate to different skill levels, where to look for suitable candidates, how to prepare for the recruitment process, etc. Many companies believe that hiring a foreign national is a long, drawn-out process, which simply isn’t worth it. And yet, if we compare the investment required to find, attract and relocate a foreign specialist with fostering a junior employee – the latter is significantly costlier.

How does Work in Lithuania help companies hire foreign specialists?

The aim of Work in Lithuania is to connect Lithuanian employers with highly qualified specialists abroad. To this end, we’re hosting a job search website that allows companies who have joined the programme to post job advertisements. Our task here is to attract foreign specialists to the website, have them apply to jobs and get in contact with Lithuanian employers. In addition, Work in Lithuania is developing an open employers’ community for specialists from abroad, and educating Lithuanian companies on the procedures that apply to hiring foreign nationals.

How did the initiative to provide companies with consultations on hiring foreign specialists come about?

The new service of providing free individual consultations to companies is mostly aimed at businesses with no prior experience in hiring foreign nationals who don’t know where to even begin. Our goal was to provide companies struggling to find the specialists they need with information on foreign labour markets, attracting talent, and the preparation necessary commencing migration procedures. Some Lithuanian employers don’t even consider the possibility of solving the talent problem in the short term by hiring foreign nationals and thereby reducing competition for local specialists. We strive to arm companies with all the knowledge they need to make the hiring process as smooth as possible.

Another incentive to start offering consultations was the situation in Belarus – the events there increased the number of highly qualified Belorussians looking for work in Lithuania, as well as the interest of local employers in hiring them.

How do the consultations proceed? What kinds of topics are typically discussed?

Companies interested in consulting with us are welcome to join our programme and become partners of Work in Lithuania. Applications can be submitted by e-mail at: leila.mustafajeva@investlithuania.com. While consultations are open to all company representatives, they’re usually attended by human resources specialists and hiring managers aiming to attract foreign specialists to their teams.

The registration process allows companies to choose the topics most relevant to them. During consultations, we provide information on the migration procedures applicable to highly qualified specialists and share our knowledge of foreign talent markets.

In addition, we provide advice on how to prepare for recruitment, what actions should the company take, how to tailor the talent scouting and attraction processes, and last but not least – what should be included in the relocation package. In other words, we strive to provide as much information as possible to help companies attract and hire highly qualified specialists from abroad.