The soft skills in Lithuanian labour market are often called as social competences and mostly related to personal, social, learning to learn and communication competencies and abilities to reflect upon oneself, effectively manage time and information, work with others in a constructive way, remain resilient and manage one’s own learning and career. It includes the ability to cope with uncertainty and complexity, to think clearly and rationally about what to do, to empathize and manage conflict in an inclusive and supportive context.
In addition to professional competences, the Lithuanian labour market is open to employees having well developed soft skills. This is also illustrated by the results of the survey of talents’ search specialists in Lithuania, where even 92 % of respondents agree that soft skills are becoming more demanding. Most Lithuanian employers require a minimum professional experience, but in many cases, the ability to learn quickly, to show creativity and to demonstrate openness and willingness for changes is particularly crucial. It confirms, that Lithuania being an open and small economy has a fragmented labour market, which requires a diverse and wide range of employees having a high-level professional background in relation to soft skills requirements.
According to the researchers, the soft skills in the Lithuanian labour market have the same manner despite the qualification level of the human resources, professional requirements for the work position and type of industry/sector. Summarizing the researches and various surveys have done among the employers in Lithuania, the key soft skills are following:
Decision making in a complex environment. This is the ability to solve unusual problems and make the decisions in a changing and challenging environment. Decision making uses the relevant information to make choosing the best alternative easier and involves possibly assuming some risks in conditions of uncertainty.
Creativity or the ability to think and create creatively. Employees need to be more creative in order to adjust themselves to the work changes and benefit from new technologies or products or improve them. Creativity also involves adaptive thinking, i.e. the ability to think proactively, find unconventional, non-standard solutions and responses, and respond to unique and unpredictable circumstances.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions, motivation, social awareness and social skills. Employees with a high level of emotional intelligence have a strong motivation to work, are able to inspire others, become an effective part in different teams, are positive and constantly improve themselves. In the opinion of Lithuanian employers, it is one of the most important soft skills in the labour market, because it is a crucial ability for communication with team, partners and consumers.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyse information objectively and make a reasoned judgment; in other words, it’s directly related to logic and argumentation. Critical thinking in the workplace enables the employee to understand the logical connection between issues and foreseen the positive and negative aspects using various sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings.
Teamwork/ effective collaboration is an ability to be ready to work with others, to feel part of the team in order to achieve common goals in the most effective and efficient way. It involves sharing resources and knowledge, harmonizing interests and contributing actively to reach the objectives of the organization.
Communication is the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and consumers by transmitting ideas, information and opinions clearly and convincingly both verbally and in writing, while listening and being receptive to the proposals of others.
The Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) conducted the desk research of requested skills in online job vacancies in Lithuania. The analysis covered 163.5 thousands of online job vacancies available on CVbankas.lt portal in 2017–2018.
Most of job vacancies were posted in search for employees in the following categories: Industry and Manufacturing (13% of all vacancies), Trade and Consultancy (13%), and Customer Assistance and Services (11%).
Higher education was indicated as a requirement or advantage in 26% of vacancies analysed. However, a frequent vacancy with the requirement for education indicates the area (e.g. Economy) without the level of education. Almost half (13 out of 28) of the categories had higher education as a requirement or advantage in over 40% of job vacancies. Mostly, higher education was indicated in the following categories: Law (82%), Procurement/Supply (71%) Export (66%), Accounting/ Finance/ Audit (63%), and Insurance (62%).
Work experience, as a requirement or advantage was indicated in more than half (66%) of vacancies. Most often, this aspect was mentioned in the following categories: Export (90%), Leadership/Management (87%), Information Technology (84%), Energy/ Electronics (82%), and Accounting/Finance/Audit (81%).
The most common features sought by employers were: responsibility, proactiveness, sociability, diligence, creativity, commitment to results, independence, and honesty. In more than half (17 out of 28) categories, responsibility, as a requirement or advantage, was indicated in more than a third of job vacancies.
The most common foreign language in job vacancies was English (33% of vacancies). Usually English language was specified in the following categories: Export (89%), Procurement/Supply (79%), Transport/Logistics Management (72%), and Law (71%). The second language most frequently specified in the vacancies was Russian (21% of vacancies). German, French, Polish, Italian, and knowledge of other languages was specified as the requirement or advantage less often.
In summary, the research showed that among Lithuanian employers the most preferable soft-skills are conversation skills, negotiation skills, teamwork, communicability, creativity, analytical thinking, independence, result oriented, planning skills, etc.
Similar results could be found in research made by “SkillSurvey”, presented for the Lithuanian employers and society in 2018. The findings show that young people entering the labour market need developing their communication skills. “The complex of soft and hard skills is crucial for every job candidate in the intense labour market nowadays. However, it is extremely important to labour market novice that do not have much experience. Soft skills could be exactly the factor for the success.” – says Ray Bixler, the manager of “SkillSurvey” (Verslo žinios, 2018). According to him, labour market novices who are able to communicate both in written and verbal, explain the tasks and share information effectively, has an advantage against other candidates despite the job sector.
“SkillSurvey” analysed comments of employers about one thousand candidates who tried to get a job in a seven most popular sectors. The analysis of required soft skills showed the following results:
- In service sector, the employers look for attention to details, ability to make decisions and clear communication;
- In finance sector the abilities to track new information, explain concepts and information and make informed decisions are the most important;
- IT sector employees should know how to document the creation of program and code. They should also be able to track the newest information and do multitasking (work with several projects at once);
- In nursing, the employers need people who demonstrate confidence in their skills, know how to instruct other people and are initiative.
- Business managers should possess good skills in information provision, negotiation and attention to details.
- Client project managers should know how to provide information in logical and persuasive way. Attention to details and endurance while facing the obstacles are also very important features.
- Engineers should be able to track the newest information and make decisions independently.
Soft skills are important not only for young, but for elder employees as well. Because of the fast technological change, the practical skills of employees are growing old much faster than before. Therefore, the soft “human” skills become more important.
In summary, Lithuanian employers mostly prefer soft skills like complex problem solving, negotiation skills, teamwork, communicability, emotional intelligence, creativity, analytical and critical thinking, decision making and result oriented, planning skills, etc. It is obvious that the personal and social features of the employee are brought into the centre of employers’ attention and the professional experience of an employee goes to the second plan. With a challenges of digitalization and technological changes, the employees must see the broader view and do not limit themselves to standard ways of problem-solving; they should develop creative thinking, able to communicate and convince others, showing leadership.
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MOSTA (2019). Žmogiškasis kapitalas Lietuvoje 2019: kryptis – ateities darbo rinka.
Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Lithuania. Analytical highlights series. Available at: /en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-lithuania
Skills Panorama. (2016). Lithuania: Mismatch priority occupations. https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/lithuania-mismatch-priority-occupations
Verslo žinios (2018). Available at: https://www.vz.lt/vadyba/personalo-valdymas/2018/09/04/kokiu-minkstuju-igudziu-labiausiai-truksta-jauniems-darbuotojams#ixzz6FjIM2hdG
Prepared by V.Pilinkienė and Ž.Piligrimienė (KTU)