According to a study conducted by IZM two years ago, the highest youth unemployment rate in Latvia was in 2009, during the global financial crisis. Unemployment among young people subsequently decreased, but still the youth unemployment rate in Latvia is higher than the average in the European Union (EU) – around 20% of the total number of employees.
Inese Markēviča, a career adviser to the State Employment Agency (NVA), said the official data were smaller. A year ago there were 12,000 young people without work, but this summer 7,000 or 14%. The most common reason why young people can't find a job is lack of education.
“Employers are not really looking for those who only have secondary education and basic education. There may be more demands for better digital skills, foreign languages. And even if a young person is aware that he has neither vocational education nor experience, there are events available to them in the agency called “Development of skills needed for work”. So he gets the first job experience with a particular employer. Young people who have acquired vocational training and who do not have experience in the job search process themselves are also advised to use both the services in the agency and the electronic training modules available in the e-environment on this topic,” the NVA spokeswoman said.
Gustavs Upmanis, head of the “All chances” social enterprise, said that at the end of September, free training of 120 hours will start, where 150 young people will be able able to acquire knowledge in areas such as data processing, digital marketing and customer support. Young people can register for training on the “stradaattalinati.lv” website.
"Young people don't need specific education or specific skills, but what is very important is that someone is able to work remotely. A large part of the materials is learned individually, and online meetings with teachers and others serve the purpose of speaking about how things work and how to do things more effectively. Customer support and data processing will be in Latvian, while digital marketing, given that most of the terms are English and will be an international course, will be in English. The training is entirely free [..] And then there will be the next step where, with mentors and companies, we will give young people concrete job offers. What is interesting about us in this project is the emphasis not only on remote work but also on hybrid work. Which means that a person comes to Rīga once a week from Jēkabpils and that is a unique thing that has not yet been discussed so much daily," said Upmanis.
Dace Helmane, director of the Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Institute, explained why employers often have a negative experience when recruiting young people.
"It is very common to hear about cases where this young employee comes to work and decides after half a day that they will choose any other plans for the future. The second group that we are talking about is also in an age when people are planning to build a family, and this is another issue that is concerning potential employers: that soon these people will have to look after their children and that, unfortunately, they also often discourage employers from looking, especially at the employment of young women. I think there is a need to continue to activate the practice options. The second, which would certainly help to boost youth employment, is already early enough to give young people an understanding of what employers expect, so that potential employees have a sufficiently realistic view of the working environment, working conditions," Helmane said.
A study carried out two years ago shows that young people in Latvia are more likely to mention, as a reason for their unemployment, that wages are too low. 40% of young people would like to set up their own business, while Latvia has one of the highest percentages of young people working abroad – if on average they are 10% in EU countries, it is 17% in Latvia.