25 July | Agilium Worldwide
“How the labor market in Europe is changing due to the war in Ukraine”
An interview with Laura Duksaitė from Master Class – Agilium Worldwide’s member firm in Lithuania
Laura Duksaitė is Managing Partner at Master Class Lietuva. She is also a member of the board of Lithuanian Red Cross. Agilium Worldwide (AW) talked to her about some of the changes in the labor market due to the war in Ukraine:
AW: Laura, how exactly has Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine changed the labor market landscape in, especially, Eastern Europe?
Laura Duksaite: “Well, to start with, Ukraine’s neighboring countries are taking in huge numbers of war refugees. Poland, for example, as the largest neighbor has already taken in more than 2.5* million people, Romania about 700,000 and Slovakia around 300,000. About 45,000 Ukrainian people have made their way to Lithuania, which has a total population of only 2.7 million. In fact, all EU member countries are supporting the Ukrainian people in every way they can: providing accommodation, food, clothing, schooling, and even jobs. Statistics compiled by the Lithuanian government show that 40% of all Ukrainian war refugees registered in my country, for example, have a university education. So, we are experiencing a huge influx of very well educated people who are qualified to work in sectors like management and accounting, economics, trade and commerce, IT and digital banking.
We also have to point out that around 85% of these war refugees are women, frequently arriving with their children, maybe even parents and relatives. Many of these have qualifications and experience in the healthcare, education, accounting and general management professions. Post COVID, firms in some sectors are still looking to fill positions, also skilled ones, so we should be able to match them up well here.”
But what about language? Is this not a significant challenge in completing the match?
“Yes, that’s a good point. For the Ukrainian people it’s not too difficult to learn Polish due to many similarities. Lithuanian, however, is a different matter. But, we do use a lot of English here and we are noticing that well educated Ukrainians generally have good English skills. So in sectors like IT we should be able to integrate these refugees effectively into the labor market.”
When people have to flee their country it’s never sure when they can or will return, if at all. Does the hope that this situation be temporary play a significant role here?
“As executive search specialists we could be seeing that, with time and if new hirings take place, management, business, development, research, etc. will be relocated from the Ukraine to EU member states, and carried out there. When the refugees return, management can be conducted remotely. COVID showed us that remote working is more than feasible, so returning and continuing to work for that firm, just at a different location, should not be a problem.”
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