Summary

ICT professionals belong to high shortage occupations for Lithuania.

Looking at past, current and future trends (3-4 years), a number of occupations have been identified as mismatch priority occupations for Lithuania, i.e. they are either in shortage of surplus. Shortage occupation: an occupation that is in short supply of workers, and for which the employers typically face difficulties finding a suitable candidate. Surplus occupation: an occupation for which there are plenty of suitable workers available but low demand. The employers have no problems filling such posts.

The list below is based on an assessment of the labour market of Lithuania. The occupations presented are not given any rank. All of them present high mismatch.

Shortage Occupations

ICT professionals [1]

ICT professionals face very high demand due to the significant inflow of foreign direct investment in shared services, ICT and financial services outsourcing. Fast growth of ICT start-ups further fuels demand for ICT professionals. Although the number of students in relevant higher education programmes has increased, it will take several years, until current students will enter the labour market. Graduate surveys indicate that graduates from mathematical and financial fields of study are among the top earners and do not face risks related to over qualification. [2] Previously, formal qualifications were not seen as necessary to enter ICT-related professions. As a result, drop-outs from higher education institutions constituted a sizeable share of the workforce. Inflow of foreign direct investment has changed this, as firms increasingly require tertiary education for entry-level positions. The key transversal skills required include foreign languages (English and increasingly Scandinavian languages), managerial skills and creativity.

In recent years, the Lithuanian government has increased the number of vouchers (public funds to cover the full cost of studies) for tertiary studies in ICT and mathematics. [3] This, however, might rebalance demand and supply only in the medium term as it does not address issues related to quality and relevance of education and training. Possible solutions could include: stronger emphasis on ICT literacy education in primary schools; increasing quality and relevance of ICT education in secondary schools; and widening of opportunities for non-formal education in ICT/software development and related areas. Other measures could include support for structured partnerships between enterprises and tertiary education institutions to increase the relevance and quality of initial education, as well as accessibility to opportunities for continuous training. Shortages of ICT professionals could be considered as critical, since it could preclude further development and growth of exports from ICT, financial and related high value added services.

Engineers [4]

Since 2011, the number of employed engineering professionals has continued to grow (although employment of electro-technology engineers declined slightly). Wages in these occupations are well above average, which reflects their critical role in the further expansion of the Lithuanian engineering industry. The number of students in engineering and related study fields has increased in recent past years. Nevertheless, these study fields have not been very successful in their attempt to attract the most talented students and reduce high the number of drop-outs. Hence, although the “intake” has increased, firms still face shortages of motivated and talented graduates. [5] Historically, the main tasks of engineers in Lithuanian firms were related to organisation of production processes and quality assurance. However, as firms establish new, or expand existing, R&D departments, skills requirements are also likely to change. A recent study showed that higher education graduates do have the necessary technical skills; the main skills shortages relate to transversal skills (effective communication, command of foreign languages, management), research-related competences and motivation to pursue engineering careers. [6]

In recent years the Lithuanian government has increased the number of vouchers for tertiary studies in engineering fields. [7] With the aim to develop relevant skills at secondary school, the intention is to develop a Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning strategy [8]. It should integrate a broad range of measures, including, but not limited to: upgrading of relevant infrastructure in schools; up-skilling of teachers; changes in curricular; and expansion of non-formal STEM education opportunities. Furthermore, Smart Specialisation strategy [9] includes measures aimed at strengthening PhD and post-doc training in related areas. Policy should focus on increasing the attractiveness of STEM to the most talented students. Higher education curriculum should also place stronger emphasis on development of transversal competences.

Managers [10]

Management, marketing and related fields of study remain very popular among students in tertiary education. As a result, the labour market is densely populated by large number of recent graduates from management, sales, logistics and marketing, which has fuelled an ongoing discussion regarding oversupply of graduates. Furthermore, the success of recent graduates in the labour market has been uneven: while some land in well-paid jobs, others remain in low-skilled, low-wage jobs (e.g. sales). [11] However, there seems to be an unmet demand for experienced managers at higher skills levels. Some 25 years ago managers in Lithuania possessed completely different skills sets. The transition from a planned to a market economy fuelled the demand for managers capable of working in a competitive environment. At the beginning of the transition these positions were filled by self-taught staff. Increasing foreign direct investment and the movement of local firms up the value added chain contribute to high unmet demand for professional, experienced and highly skilled managers. Demand for such skills profiles cannot be met adequately, neither by recent graduates, nor by self-taught professionals working in the field.

In recent years the Lithuanian government has reduced the number of vouchers (public funds to cover the full cost of studies) for tertiary studies in social sciences, largely due to concerns regarding oversupply of management graduates. This, however, did not have a very significant effect in terms of supply of graduates: as the number of publicly funded places went down, the number of tuition fee based places has increased. Private education providers are increasingly active in providing continuous education opportunities for experienced professionals. This has some potential to tackle unmet demand for more experienced managers.

Health professionals [12]

Most health professionals are employed in the public healthcare system. At the same time, the ageing population implies increasing demand for relevant services. On the other hand, however, the shrinking of the population (particularly in rural areas) has led to continuous restructuring of the public healthcare system, i.e. closing healthcare facilities in the regions. This implies that expansion demand is likely to remain low or negative [13] and replacement demand will be the main driver of skills shortages (at least in the short-medium term). On the other hand, an increasing share of health professionals is employed in emerging biotech, manufacture of pharmaceutical products and medical equipment. These sectors attract significant foreign direct investment and are among Lithuania’s Smart Specialisation priorities. [14] If implementation of Smart Specialisation strategies is successful in boosting growth of these sectors, expansion demand for health professionals could pick-up. University graduates from life sciences, medicine and healthcare fields receive wages that are below national averages during their first years in the labour market. [15] Nevertheless, studies in life sciences remain highly popular among higher education entrants. Large numbers of graduates, however, do not automatically translate into higher supply due to emigration. Between 3-10% of health professionals have migrated since Lithuania joined the EU and approx. 33% of students in life sciences, medicine and healthcare fields express their intentions to migrate [16].

In recent years, the Lithuanian government has increased the number of vouchers (public funds to cover the full cost of studies) for tertiary studies in life sciences.[17] Furthermore, Smart Specialisation strategy includes an integrated package of measures aimed at training R&D personnel (including parallel laboratories, post-doc training, etc.) for related sectors and fostering closer cooperation between enterprises and higher education institutions. This could provide more institutionalised pathways from higher education to the relevant segments of the labour market.

Most legal, social and religious professionals are employed in the public sector while a number of them are regulated. In particular, they are accessible for graduates with tertiary education (ISCED 5 and higher). Shortages arise predominantly due to unattractive working conditions. A state audit on training of statutory officers revealed that there is a significant gap between the number of unfilled vacancies and limited capacities of education institutions to train police officers. [19] Similarly, poor working conditions as well as low prestige of social work professionals explain skills shortages despite high demand for such services.

No particular measures to remedy skills shortages for these occupations have been implemented as there is no apparent need for immediate policy action. Nevertheless, adequate funding as well as measures aimed at improving working conditions and prestige of legal, social and religious professionals may be considered.

Other shortage occupations

These include ‘plant and machine operators and assemblers’ [20] as well as ‘truck drivers [21]. In relation to the first group, representatives of the manufacturing sector continuously emphasise unsatisfied demand for workers with occupational qualifications. However, data on wages and employment dynamics do not suggest a shortage of workers. Demand for heavy truck drivers is very dynamic and depends on the position of the European economy in the economic cycle. As the EU economy recovers from the crisis, international freight is likely to grow thus spurring demand for heavy truck drivers.

Surplus Occupations

Surplus occupations include shop and street salespersons [22], child care workers and teachers’ aides [23], garment workers [24], machine operators [25] as well as material recording and transport clerks. [26] Reasons for surpluses relate to decreased demand, wage levels that tend to be below the national average [27], significantly higher numbers of unemployed compared to the number of vacancies, as well as large staff turnover. [28] In relation to child care workers and teachers’ aides, the decline in demand is fuelled by low fertility rates and increasing participation rates in early childhood and pre-primary education, where higher levels of skills are typically required. [29] Regarding garment workers and machine operators, the decrease in employment relates to the shift from labour-intensive production of basic and low value-added products to technology and know-how intensive production of more advanced final products. Concerning material recording and transport clerks, it is likely that increasing use of ICT has been destroying jobs in these occupations.

No specific measures have been implemented. However, there is an apparent need to up-skill the labour force to cope with technological and organisational advancements.

Note on the methodology

The list has been compiled by Cedefop in the first half of 2016 combining quantitative and qualitative methods. In particular, a list of mismatch occupations was formulated following quantitative analysis of labour market indicators. Country experts were then asked to build on and scrutinise this list. Their expert assessment and knowledge of the country’s labour market has provided rich insights about the reasons behind the skills shortages or surpluses at occupational level. These are also accompanied by measures and policies that aim to tackle such mismatches. Country’s stakeholders have also been included in validating the final list of occupations.

Find here more data and information about Lithuania.

References

[1] ISCO: Software and application developers and analysts (ISCO 251); Database and network professionals (ISCO 252); Information and communications technology service managers (ISCO 133); Financial and mathematical associate professionals (ISCO 331).

[2] MOSTA (2015), Lietuvos studijų būklės apžvalga 2015, Vilnius: in press.

[4] Engineering professionals (ISCO 214); Electrotechnology engineers (ISCO 215).

[5] Visionary Analytics (2013)

[6] Visionary Analytics (2013)

[7] ŠMM (2015), Švietimo ir mokslo ministro įsakymas Dėl preliminaraus valstybės finansuojamų pirmosios pakopos ir vintisųjų studijų vietų, į kurias 2015 metais priimami studentai, skaičiaus, 2015 m. vasario 20 d. Nr. V-131

[8] Invest Lithuania, Gamtos mokslų, technologijų, inžinerijos ir matematikos ugdymas ir populiarinimas: geriausios užsienio praktikos ir jų taikymas Lietuvai, Vilnius, 2015.

[9] LR Vyriausybė. Nutarimas dėl prioritetinių mokslinių tyrimų ir eksperimentinės (socialinės, kultūrinės) plėtros ir inovacijų raidos (sumanios specializacijos) krypčių ir jų prioritetų įgyvendinimo programos patvirtinimo, 2014-04-30, Nutarimo nr.: 411.

[10] Sales, marketing & development managers (ISCO 122); Managing directors and chief executives (ISCO 112); Manufacturing, mining, construction, and distribution managers (ISCO 132); Retail and wholesale trade managers (ISCO 142).

[11] MOSTA (2015)

[12] Medical doctors (ISCO 221); Medical and pharmaceutical technicians (ISCO 321); Other health professionals (ISCO 226); Other health associate professionals (ISCO 325).

[15] MOSTA, 2015

[16] Dovilė Krupickaitė, Arūnas Poviliūnas (2012), Social Impact of Emigration and Rural-Urban Migration in Central and Eastern Europe, Final Country Report, Lithuania.

[17] ŠMM, 2015

[18] Legal, social and religious associate professionals (ISCO 341) including: police inspectors and detectives, social work associate professionals, religious associate professionals.

[19] Valstybės kontrolė (2012), Valstybinio audito ataskaita. Statutinių pareigūnų rengimo ir mokymo organizavimas, Vilnius, VA-P-40-1-16.

[20] ISCO 8.

[21] ISCO 833 heavy truck and bus drivers

[22] Street and market salespersons (ISCO 521); Shop salespersons (ISCO 522). The majority of shop and street salespersons have acquired secondary education or vocational qualifications. They are employed in wholesale and retail trade as well as other service activities (ZIP 2014).

[23] ISCO 531

[24] Garment and related workers (ISCO 753)

[25] Textile, fur and leather products machine operators (ISCO 815).

[26] ISCO 432 includes accounting and bookkeeping clerks, statistical, finance and insurance clerks, payroll clerks, stock clerks, production clerks and transport clerks.

[27] In terms of wages, the group of material recording and transport clerks is very heterogeneous: 31% belong to the two bottom income deciles, whereas nearly 10% belong to the two top income deciles (ZIPS 2014).

[28] ZIPS (2014).

[29] The majority of child care workers and teachers’ aides have secondary education; approx. 12% have graduated from tertiary education (ZIPS 2014).