Youth unemployment in Lithuania has shrunk significantly over the last few years. Specialists say, however, that this is as much to do with emigration as with the growing economy.
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

People under 25 come to the offices of Lithuania's Labour Exchange for various reasons: some are looking for a job, others, on the contrary, are here to terminate their employment before going abroad. Many manage to find a job without help.

"Many of my friends have studied IT programmes, so they have no trouble finding jobs. But those who have different training are not in the best situation," says Greta, a young woman interviewed by LRT.

Is it possible for a young person fresh from college or university to find a job? "You have to look for it," according to Greta. "I found one where they didn't require that I have experience, but one has to have connections, however bad that sounds."

The Labour Exchange says summer is the season when fresh graduates start looking for jobs. Most have training in law, economics, public administration; vocational school graduates are looking for jobs in catering and industry.

Youth unemployment has dropped significantly over the last half-decade, according to the Labour Exchange: from 35% in 2010 to 16% last year.

"Youth unemployment is shrinking. If you compare data from Eurostat in 2012, when unemployment among people under 25 was almost 27%, this June it stood at 13.1%, which is 3.5 points below the EU average," says Ignas Simanavičius, senior specialist at the Labour Resources Department of Lithuania's Labour Exchange.

With skilled labour in short supply, employers are becoming more flexible and hire youths for part-time jobs, allowing them to work and study at the same time.

Maxima supermarket chain says the company starts recruiting people in spring and, after summer, about one fifth of the new hires stay on.

"We offer placements at a supermarket which is close to home or university so that people can manage their time," says Maxima LT spokeswoman Milda Januškevičienė.

Youth organizations note, however, that growing economy is not the only factor behind the trend.

"Young people are leaving, the young population of Lithuania is shrinking, and this is one of the reasons why youth unemployment is going down," says Vydūnas Trapinskas, director of the Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Labour.

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