Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in Latvia rose. The duration of job search is increasing and competition for job vacancies is also on the rise.
Andris Maskaļovs, senior expert at State of Employment Agency (NVA) Customer Service and Development, said that IT skills, language knowledge and communication skills are most demanded in the labor market, and those are expected to remain on top.
“A survey of employers is carried out annually at the NVA. At the top of the list are communication skills, knowledge of the state language and Russian, planning and time management, computer skills and the driver's license has become more current. Knowledge and skills related to artificial intelligence and large data programming are required. What is interesting - [demanded is] the ability to learn,” the NVA representative said.
According to data from the NVA, the unemployment rate registered in the country decreased from 8.2% in April to 7.9% in May due to seasonal jobs in agriculture, forestry and other areas.
"At present, the average duration of unemployment is a little over six months. There is no decline in the economy in all sectors, there are areas of activity where there is a marked reduction like tourism, hotel and catering services, while the number of vacancies has increased in rescue services, security and defense, public administration, media and public relations. The best insurance against unemployment is education. According to the NVA data, we see clearly that people with higher education are settling more quickly, their pay is higher. They work for employers who paid taxes in good faith and receive unemployment benefits,” said Andris Maskaļovs, senior expert at NVA Customer Service and Development.
Data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB) show that at the end of 2019, 82.8% of graduates from Latvian universities and colleges were employed, while 3.7 % of graduates had registered unemployed status, but 6.5 % – were economically inactive. People with higher education also had higher incomes. The fact that higher education provides better opportunities in the labor market was also highlighted by Andris Teikmanis, President of the Council on Higher Education.
"It is undeniable that higher education gives a person both better opportunities in the labor market and also contributes to better quality of life. Of course, much depends also on the structure of the economy: people in IT or in the humanities field earn differently. At the same time, when compared to people who have not obtained higher education, the difference is well identifiable. The more people get higher education, the smaller it is, in general, a burden on society. People with higher education care more about their health, breach law or get into prison less, so they need less from the rest of society and taxpayers. And in the end, graduates are contributing to the economy. Even in countries with the lowest return value, on average, one euro invested gives back €2-3. Because higher education benefits both public and private sectors," Teikmanis said.