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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Job seekers in Lithuania want Western salaries, employers dumbstruck

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Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Although Lithuanian labour market is in desperate for workforce, but those willing to toil will nod to a job offer only if the pay is really big. So big that the country‘s hirers feel like grabbing their heads upon hearing the candidates‘ salary expectations.

«Indeed, there are big and quite inadequate wishes when it comes to pay,» says Laura Gylienė, head of Talent Lab, a recruiter. «A few days ago, we dealt with a candidate, a recent University graduate, who was ready to take a job with the starting salary no less than 1500 euros. Note, after deduction of taxes. What she asked for was too much, especially considering her zero work experience.»

This is hardly a single case when the job seeker‘s expectations for pay and the employer‘s financial capabilities went sideways.

«Today‘s job seeker in his or her 30ies is quite different from that years ago. A big deal of the people who look for job through local Labour exchanges have worked abroad and have some savings, thence their demands for high salaries,» Mindaugas Skritulskas, director of Klaipėda Territorial Labour Exchange, told BNN.

Coupled with the young generation‘s striving for independence and quick results in an activity, employers often find themselves struggling in filling up free vacancies.

Polls show that around 40 percent of respondents on payroll believe that they are worth a bigger pay and are set to ask for it in the near future. A whopping 80 per cent has said they are unhappy with the reward for the job, another finding.

«Indeed, the new Labour Code that goes into force from the new year also spurs workers to attempt to secure a larger salary now, before the kick-in,» says Virginija Kazlauskienė, owner of a small business.

Skritulskas, of the regional Labour Exchange, has not noticed so far any impacts of the Code on Klaipėda‘s labour market.

«Taking into account the deeply enshrined letter of labour relations liberalism in the new labour law, my guess is that we will gradually start seeing more long-term labour contracts. In other words, employers will be interested in keeping right workers long, thence their chances for wage growth,» the Labour exchange director believes.

Recent surveys have also shown that every fifth worker has upped his or her pay expectations over the last year. The appetite of dwellers in the largest cities is usually a lot bigger, salary-wise, than of those living in bucolic areas.

«Those who said that they were discontent with their salary now believe that a 44 per cent pay rise would be reasonable for their efforts. But with the middle management positions being paid 44 per cent higher, Lithuanian salaries would catch up with those in Estonia. The truth, however, is the Lithuanian economy- and the employers just cannot keep up the pace. Altogether, pay cannot rise rapidly, it is a process subject to slow changes,» says Rita Karavaitienė, marketing head at CV-Online, a major online job database.

The euro, needless to say, is another driving force for higher salaries.

«Naturally, with a lot higher prices after the adoption of euro, people want to earn more,» Gylienė says. «The shortage of skilled workforce, a result of emigration and demographical shifts, has to be taken into consideration, too.»

Yet unsubstantiated big pay expectations catch many employers off guard. Some of them, upon hearing unrealistic wishes, seem dumbfounded, she notes.

«Others engage in negotiations offering some added values to the candidates of their interest,» she said.

What does the term «added value» imply, you wonder? Gylienė explains: «An additional package usually includes all social guarantees, insurance, possibilities of growth in the company and et cetera.»

Yet they may be just not enough in getting the right candidate to sign the labour contract.

«If salary expectations do not stop swelling, many employers will be forced soonto look for workforce elsewhere, in Belarus or Ukraine, for example,» predicts the HR representative.

Skritulskas claims that the topic of high salaries resonates within the youth in particular.

«Today‘s 20 or 30-year-olds are way different from us, quadragenarians or so. The young generation is less likely to be loyal to employers today. Unlike us, young people nowadays do not want to wait years for a chance of promotion and often quit the job after just warming up the new work place,» Skritulskas suggested to BNN.

«Today young people want it all today and now. If the employer next door will offer a 50-euro higher salary, majority of the young adults will move to it without giving a thought about the previous employer,» he underscored.

Having gained some work experience abroad or travelled extensively before starting a new job in Lithuania, youngsters exude overconfidence in their abilities, which, to tell the truth, rile many of the employers.

«Confidence is good and a look-after trait by the employers, not overconfidence, however,» stresses Skritulskas. «As nowadays only part of young job seekers use services of local labour exchanges,» he continues, explaining: «Many hunt for jobs through privately run hiring agencies, so the picture we see does not necessarily reflect the factual panorama of the labour market,» the Labour exchange head emphasised.

Wrapping up, he added: «At the end of the day, human traits- diligence, sincerity, integrity and so on – matter today no less than the skills. Finding a candidate with the fuse of both is what an employer dreams of today.»

Lithuanian salaries grew 8.1 per cent in average this year and, at the level, it has been the fastest growth over the recent years. The average wage before tax deduction was 771.9 euro.

Moreover, some more good news for Lithuanian job seekers may be ahead – SEB Latvia Bank analysts predict pay growth in Lithuania will be the fastest in the Baltics next year. Yet nowhere in the range with the Estonian salaries.

«It’s hard to tell when salaries in Latvia and Lithuania will be on par with Estonia’s. It is obviously something not of the coming two or three years,» says Dainis Gaspuitis, a SEB Bank analyst.

Latvia’s average salary during the year’s second quarter was 838 euros and 1,163 euros in Estonia.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4203


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