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Wednesday 01.04.2020 | Name days: Dagne, Dagnis

Latvian ICT market based on Soviet mathematicians

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Information and communication technology (ICT) specialists are still among the most demanded professions in Latvia, as the number of qualified workforce is dropping and the sector is resting on several decades old laurels, ICT companies managers told the business news portal BNN.

Experts link the tendency with the drawbacks of the ICT sector’s planned priority projects list to be carried out from 2007 up to 2013. Projects have not been announced systematically, which intervened with the companies forecasting the necessary resources timely, Lattelecom Technology executive director Rinalds Sproģis told BNN, adding that highly professional specialists are currently leaving the state, as implementers of the respective projects are headhunting them.

SIA Komerccentrs DATI Group Board Chairman Aldis Gulbis explains the situation by stressing that the ICT sector faced the toughest challenges in the period between 2005 and 2008, when ICT specialists preferred earning money in construction and real estate sectors. Although the problem has currently lost its topicality and all ICT specialists are working in this sector, they are still aware of the fact they can be successful not only in Latvia but also abroad. The ICT sector stands out because it welcomes guest workers even when the market is closed for other guest workers due to the employment policy. Thus we cannot say that the shortage of experts has emerged all of a sudden, says Gulbis, stressing that 2010 with regard to the lack of professionals was an especially tough year.

Baltic Data Head Aivars Arums agrees the situation is grave, adding that the needs of employers and employees often do not coincide with the actual options. There are a lot of problems, some people actually choose to get the unemployment benefit, rather than work, which results in them having difficulties in finding a job afterwards, because it is very difficult to return to the ICT market once you have dropped out. It is because everything is changing so fast, the expert shares his unsuccessful experience in finding employees. We have a lot of applicants, however the majority of them is not right for us because they either lack qualification or job experience, Arums says.

It unlikely to hire a ready-made specialist, we have to train them ourselves, which boosts costs automatically, Gulbis says, stressing that the demand for highly qualified professionals exceeds the supply considerably.

Speaking about the remunerations, Arums says Latvia might have already hit the European level, because it is sometimes cheaper to buy a specialist providing outsourcing services from abroad than employ a person here. He does reveal, though, that actually remuneration is a very complicated matter, it also comprises social security and various other additional costs.

In order to teach a sufficient number of qualified specialists, higher education establishments should collaborate with the leading international software developers and IT companies that would inform about the latest technologies and their applications trends, Sprogis says.

Gulbis is of a similar opinion, he still calls collaboration between education institutions and companies abstract. Recently the negotiations with the higher education establishments have become more active. Unfortunately, the money attributed by the European structural funds was used not to purchase study materials or promote competencies of educators, but to boost energy efficiency, says Gulbis, adding that education calls for reforms due to the demographic situation. Many young people have only the secondary education. There are some with the higher education, but they still do not have actual professional skills. Vocational education is degrading. Unfortunately, it is often people without long-term goals are attending them. It is a complete absurd, vocational schools should be in the elite, because they teach future professionals to develop certain sectors, according to DATI Group representative, who also points out professions not demanded by the market are still «produced».

Exact sciences might require more contribution, the study process is more difficult, you need laboratories, different equipment catching up with the latest technologies. This does, of course, call for more investments, but it is exactly the way leading towards economy development. We should try to carry out correct reforms in the education sector, says Gulbis.

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  1. nummi says:

    I do not quite agree that vocational schools should be as prestige as universities!

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