There is still a shortage of "technical minds" in the labor market

More than 90% of science, mathematics, statistics and IT graduates are employed in higher-skilled professions (managers, senior specialists), according to the monitoring of graduate data. In contrast, the lowest employment rates are observed among graduates of humanities and arts, services, social and commercial sciences, law subject groups.
16.06.2022. Līga Nestere-Nikandrova

These aggregated data on graduates between 2017 and 2019 are in line with the labor market forecasts of the Ministry of Economy and with what employers themselves have been saying for years - Latvia needs "technical minds". At the moment, supply is lagging behind demand, while there is an oversupply of specialists in the humanities.

Graduate monitoring shows that 92% of health professionals, 90% of engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates, 92% of agricultural graduates, 88% of science, mathematics and IT graduates can find a place in the labor market. All of these specialists also have the highest average incomes. Meanwhile, there is even more reinforcement of the trend observed in previous years of lower than average incomes among all graduates in the services subject group and lower incomes than the national average wage in education, humanities and arts graduates.

Employers have long called for the introduction of a compulsory examination in a science subject, arguing that this would also increase students' motivation to understand difficult subjects, which may ultimately lead to an increase in the number of young people choosing to study a science subject at university.

Currently, the number of secondary school graduates choosing to take physics or other science subjects as an optional exam continues to decline at a relatively fast pace, reports Two years ago, in 2020, 896 final-year students chose to take physics, last year - 796, and in 2022 - only 648, according to the National Centre for Education.

It has recently emerged that the Ministry of Education and Science has partly made concessions to the science sector by finding a compromise on the introduction of a compulsory physics exam - promising that in 2025, one of the science exams will have to be taken at least at the optimal level when graduating from secondary school.

Employers' comment:

Jānis Čupriks, Member of the Board of SIA Datakom:

At the moment, I do not believe that young people have heard the call to study the sciences. But I think that both parents and teachers bear responsibility here. We don't see a real generation of engineers around us or hear stories about why STEM, including IT, is interesting and engaging for young people. Moreover, part of society is under a misconception about what an IT professional is. There is still a perception that IT people spend their time in front of a computer, writing and developing complex codes. This description of the profession will certainly not make most young people want to pursue a career in this field. It is therefore our duty as a society to explain that it is the world of IT that promotes development and does not live a separate life. On the contrary, it is closely linked to every sector of today and tomorrow. A thorough understanding of IT processes will be the key to success in any future industry, from agriculture to scientific research in the laboratory.

STEM subjects, the sciences, however complex and seemingly boring, allow young people to learn to think, analyze and see connections. Technology is the cornerstone of development. And the best jobs are where development happens. But to get into the job market in this environment, you need to have a trained mathematical thinking.

We are managing to attract specialists at the moment, but it can be difficult to find an expert who already has a certain amount of experience. Young people who have the passion and drive to succeed often become Datakom success stories. For those who make Datakom their first permanent job, we teach them and regularly encourage them to develop, helping them to become experts at different levels.

We are currently in great need of consultative sales specialists who are ready to speak the language of business when it comes to IT. These professionals need the willingness to understand different businesses and the ability to see how we can deliver growth to the customer with the solutions we offer. Given the rapid development of the IT industry and the technological change, there is often a shortage of specialists in the local market who can navigate the latest technologies. That is why new technical competencies have the hottest vacancies.

Kintija Barloti, Board Member of Jelgava Polyclinic:

All professions related to medicine are in high demand in Latvia. Attracting new specialists to the regions of Latvia is a big challenge, because specialists are needed everywhere. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Jelgava City Municipality, which is effectively supporting our efforts. The city of Jelgava is always ready to provide lodgings for young doctors, and to provide a place for a child in kindergarten under special arrangements. At the moment, we are also balancing the workload of our existing staff by recruiting physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as well as surgeons, neurologists, gynecologists, mammography specialists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, traumatologists, orthopedists and other specialists.

The high demand for medical specialists basically guarantees a job for life and virtually eliminates unemployment risks. According to data collected by the State Revenue Service (SRS) in March this year, the average hourly rate of pay for a doctor in Latvia exceeds €21, which is nearly two and a half times higher than the national average. If you choose to study medicine, it is important to have a good grounding in STEM subjects such as biology and chemistry in primary and secondary school, which are taken into account when applying to study medicine.


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