Russian language tends to disappear from job ads in Latvia

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Although Russian knowledge is one of the most demanded in Latvia's labour market, the past year's events in Ukraine have made adjustments in this respect. Under public pressure, the Russian-language requirement is disappearing from job advertisements, Latvian Radio reported on March 22.

Of all job advertisements available on the Internet, where an open competition has been announced for the vacancy, Latvian language skills are the priority requirement, said Māris Silinieks, representative of the recruitment company WorkingDay.

“I can say that of the 3,000 advertisements currently available on the Internet, around half – 48% – requests Latvian and 46% – English,” Silinieks said.

Meanwhile, Russian-language skills are required in 22% of all job advertisements. Silinieks observed that last year's events in Ukraine have a direct impact on the importance of Russian language in the labor market.

“The percentage might be higher, but at the moment employers are ashamed to state the Russian requirement,” said Silinieks. This does not necessarily mean that the demand for Russian knowledge has fallen sharply over the last year.

"There are companies where the whole team is Russian-speaking, and in such a collective it is very difficult to communicate with a person who does not know Russian at all. They are often neither Latvian nor local Latvian Russians, but it can also be a company that expands a branch in Latvia and not necessarily from Russia, because in all the former Soviet Union countries the Russian language prevails as the second language," said Silinieks.

Kaspars Kotāns, spokesman for the recruitment company CV-Online Latvia, confirmed that the focus of the language requirement from Russian to English had changed. Moreover, with the influx of Ukrainians into the labour market, the strict requirements for Latvian knowledge will also be reduced.

“For example, there are people in trade from Ukraine and they have a badge stating that the employee is from Ukraine, so it will not be possible to talk to them in Latvian,” Kotāns said.

But the Latvian, English and Russian languages are not the only ones demanded on the labour market.

"Next in popularity is German. Sometimes it is difficult to find an employee who would have a good level of both English and German. Scandinavian languages can certainly be mentioned. There are enough service centers in Latvia that provide services to customers in Scandinavia," said Kotāns.

The trends in the labor market are also directly felt by language training companies. Vasilijs Ragačevičs, director of “Skrivanek Baltic”, said the demand for Latvian language courses has recently increased significantly, both from Russian-speakers and Ukrainians. In general, however, English is still the most popular language in language training.

“People from Latvia can work in foreign companies remotely. It's no secret that English is the business world's main language of communication. It's the basic language of science. English is a constant number,” said the director of Skrivanek Baltic.


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