We are glad to inform that project “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” (CB Job Ferry) has just published its 4th Newsletter edition.
The most important events in the past 4 months were the 3rd Steering Committee meeting, partners’ meeting and workshop in Stockholm (Sweden) where the information platform www.cbjobferry.eu developed in the framework of CB Job Ferry project was presented.
In addition, the CB Job Ferry project participated in the European Job Days in Tallinn (Estonia) and the CB Job Ferry Internet platform was presented in the framework of the Central Baltic Programme Open Days events at the University of Latvia in Riga (Latvia). You are also welcome to read interesting findings obtained during the research phase of the project, such as administrative barriers for those looking for work in another country, labour mobility in the context of Europe 2020 strategy, as well as labour situation and migration trends in Latvia. Next month the CB Job Ferry will take part in the fair “Darbs EXPO 2012” (Job EXPO 2012) at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga (7-8 December, 2012). If you are interested in upcoming project events, please, see the project Events’ Calendar at the end of Newsletter.
The CB Job Ferry project started on May, 2011, in the framework of the Central Baltic INTERREG IVA Programme 2007 – 2013. The project is implemented by international team which includes partners from Centre for European and Transition Studies at the University of Latvia, Nordic Centre for Spatial Development – Nordregio (Stockholm, Sweden), Turku University of Applied Science (Turku, Finland), and Institute of Baltic Studies (Tartu, Estonia). The University of Latvia is the Lead Partner in this project.
The project aims at establishing the customer-oriented cross-border advice and information platform for job seekers, graduates looking for a job abroad, placement officers and regional employers.
The project’s Newsletters regularly inform its readers about upcoming events and developments within the “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” project. In order to maintain close communication with all labour market players, we would also appreciate your contribution to the implementation of the project. Please, contact the project staff to contribute to the project by giving your comments and advices. Your contribution would help us to build as up-to-date and as relevant information platform as possible. We express our sincere gratitude to all the project supporters and experts that kindly shared their experiences and visions during the project research phase and workshops.
The project’s team wishes the best of luck to all the job seekers and employers! We invite you to visit the new Central Baltic labour market information platform at www.cbjobferry.eu.
You can also follow us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/CentralBalticJobFerry.
We hope you will enjoy reading!
Centralbaltic Job Ferry Team
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A New Internet Platform for Promoting the Cross-Border Labour Market Mobility has been presented
August 28, 2012 the second workshop of the “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” (CB Job Ferry) project organised by the Nordregio took place in Stockholm.
At this event a new Internet portal www.cbjobferry.eu developed in the framework of CB Job Ferry project was publicly presented. This portal offers a data base of job profiles for the most demanded professions in the Centralbaltic region (Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden) identified during the research process. The information placed in this new portal could be useful for job and education seekers, employers, as well as labour market experts.
The new Internet portal offers information on the most demanded professions in the Centralbaltic region, specific requirements for starting working in foreign country, legal and social regulations, level of salaries in certain professions, education opportunities, employer’s organizations, potential employers, etc. The data base of most demanded professions available in this portal offers an opportunity for users to select and compare detailed information on countries or regions and professions according to user’s requirements and interests, including qualification requirements, education level and other different criteria related to employment. This information could be useful for those who are searching for a job or education in particular profession abroad, as well as for employers looking for qualified workers in particular professions. In addition, information provided by the web site www.cbjobferry.eu could be useful for those looking for additional information on employment opportunities abroad in such well known labour mobility portals, as for example EURES.
The Internet portal www.cbjobferry.eu is already available on-line, but its contents are still being actively complemented and completed until at least 50 of the most demanded professions in each of the four Centralbaltic Job Ferry partner countries or regions will be filled in.
Project Lead partner – the University of Latvia, other partners from Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden, as well as labour market experts from the European mobility portal EURES and representatives from professional education establishments, Foundation Innove (Estonia) and Competens (Sweden), Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transportation and Environment took part at the project workshop in Stockholm at the end of August.
The next public event where the new Internet platform will be presented will take place at the Turku University of Applied Sciences in Finland, November 26-27, 2012.
European Job Days to Promote Free Movement of Workers
Free movement of workers is a fundamental right for the EU nationals. There are several reasons why people decide to utilize this right – to gain new experiences from working abroad, specialize in a field that is not demanded in the country of origin, lack of alternative job opportunities in home country, but also because of issues related to personal ambitions and family life, etc.
Movement of workers increases innovativeness due to the exchange of know-how and ideas between people from different socio-cultural contexts with different backgrounds and experiences. Moving to work in another country widens one’s social network and this might one day also bring benefits to employers in the country of origin (e.g. offering international cooperation possibilities, opening doors to other markets, etc.). At both individual and societal level taking advantage of job opportunities abroad means that there will be less people who depend on social benefits and that human resources and talent are not wasted.
Taking these reasons as a point of departure, EURES network annually organizes European Job Days to promote free movement of workers. This event takes place in different EU countries and cities (there are also European Online Job Days) and has a slightly different focus according to regional needs. The main objective of Job Days is to encourage the mobility throughout Europe by bringing together job seekers and employers, and helping both parties overcome bureaucracy and other obstacles.
One of the recent events taking place in the framework of European Job Days was held on September 28th in Tallinn, Estonia. It was a job fair organised in cooperation between the EURES network and the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. More than 20 employers from Estonia and other EU countries took part in the event. Representatives of EURES network from Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Great Britain, etc. were present at the fair and introduced living and working conditions in their countries, as well as answered specific questions of employers and job seekers related to their respective labour markets. Participants had a chance to get a detailed overview of such issues as starting new enterprises in Estonia and Finland, international taxation, health insurance and health services in EU, unemployment benefits in EU, etc. The project “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” was presented at the event and information and promotion materials were distributed to the audience.
Preliminary information on a number of visitors indicates that it was one of the most successful job fairs during several past years: approximately 5 000 persons attended this job fair. Employers received around 1100 CVs from job applicants, job interviews and training days were already scheduled. Foreign employers’ representatives were positively surprised that local job seekers were well aware of specific conditions in their home countries and demonstrated good language skills, including skills of such languages as Norwegian and Swedish.
To find out more about the European Job Days, please, visit the webpage
The “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” Internet Platform Presented at the University of Latvia
On October 11, 2012 the public presentation of the new “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” (CB Job Ferry) platform took place at the University of Latvia in Riga. This event was organised in the framework of the “Central Baltic Project Open Days 2012”. More than 20 representatives from ministries and government institutions of Latvia, trade unions and related organisations, as well as mass media participated in the platform launch event.
During the presentation of the CB Job Ferry Internet platform the project implementation progress and main findings of research on cross border labour mobility in Central Baltic region were introduced to the audience, as well as a training session on how to use the web platform was held for the interested target groups.
CB Job Ferry project implementation started with the research on labour market issues carried out in four countries of Central Baltic region – Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden. The main aim of this research was to obtain information about the situation in labour market of the cross-border region, labour mobility trends and obstacles. During the research phase the 50 most demanded professions on the labour market in each country of the region were identified and analysed. Obtained results have been integrated into the multilingual Internet platform www.cbjobferry.eu which offers comparable information on labour market issues of the cross-border region, most demanded professions, as well as employment and education possibilities of these professions.
In order to introduce project results and findings to wider audience the seminars and training workshops have been organised regularly by each project partner, but at the end of project, on spring 2013, the Final conference in Riga will take place to share experiences and best practises, as well as to improve understanding of legislative norms, structures and responsible institutions dealing with the labour market issues in each project country.
The Aspects of Supplementary Education for Immigrating Professionals in Finland
During implementation of the “Centralbaltic Job Ferry” project we have had a lot of discussions about the necessity for enhancing labour mobility and problems which people are facing when moving to a foreign country and culture. This is more than obvious that not only differences in professional education create problems for people wishing to settle in different working community.
When interviewing labour market and employment professionals, there are issues which are mentioned by every person. Firstly, these are language skills. One can hardly find a job without a need to communicate with other persons. You always have a boss, colleagues and, what is the most important thing, customers, whether they are external or internal. Take for example office cleaning tasks. Office workers may have very different needs in terms of cleanliness: someone wants that nobody touches her/his desk while other person thinks that the desk needs wiping every day or there is a special need which is not included in the cleaning program. These simple things also need to be communicated.
Secondly, an important issue is the understanding of social environment and services. For example, there are several ways to get professional help for settling in the new environment in Finland. However, for some reason these services are not very well coordinated and, therefore, this would be necessary to develop a systemic way for providing guidance to immigrants that they can have a control on their lives.
These two examples obviously reflect important issues for accommodating immigrant workers. But one thing can be easily forgotten through the discussions. This issue came up during a meeting between employment experts and education professionals who discussed what kind of training is needed for a foreign person entering a local working community. The standard approach is to provide a crash course of Finnish language and culture to a new worker. However, the issue that tends to be ignored is that this is not just a newcomer who needs a training but also the hosting community! Local people need to understand reasons behind different behaviours and they need to have a positive attitude towards small peculiarities that may be revealed.
As a result of this perception, the decision was taken that the coaching will be also provided for the hosting community and it will be developed further by the education professionals of Turku University of Applied Sciences. This may be an important step to make it easier to welcome new employees from foreign countries in Finland.
Labour Mobility in the Europe 2020 Strategy
The Europe 2020 Strategy was launched in 2012 by the European Commission and is currently one of the most important overall EU policy documents. By prioritizing smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the strategy highlights the “high-employment economy” as essentially important in order to achieve social and territorial cohesion. One of the headline targets states:”75% of the population aged 20-64 should be employed by 2020”.
In order to increase employment rates, the Europe 2020 Strategy calls for the “promotion of labour mobility across Europe” which is followed-up by related flagship initiatives such as “Youth on the move” or “An agenda for new skills and jobs” . The flagship initiatives shall help to increase labour participation through targeted education and development of specific skills in order to enable people (especially young people) to enter the labour market as well as to stay within the labour market (European Commission 2010).
In line with the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Employment Strategy (EES) shares the targets mentioned above. The EES aims to create better and more jobs throughout the European Union. It provides a framework for the Member States to discuss labour market issues and coordinate their employment policies. Annually, the member states and the European institutions draw up“employment packages” consisting of guidelines for national employment policies, national reports on employment policies and a commission report with policy recommendations to each member country. The Joint Employment Report 2011 of the Employment Committee addresses problems related to low cross-border mobility and states that barriers to geographical labour mobility may prevent proper labour market from functioning (Employment Committee 2011).
In April 2012, the European Commission presented its current “employment package” in order to respond to the financial crisis and the unemployment situation in Europe. It urges the Member States to strengthen their employment policy and presents some key areas for reform. Among other things, the “employment package” emphasizes the need to invest in skills in order to address mismatches in Europe’s labour markets. Creating a genuine EU labour market is one of the main objectives and improving labour mobility as well as matching jobs with job-seekers are highlighted measures. This is stated that the European Commission is fully engaged in removing legal and practical obstacles to free mobility and aims at improving e.g. the portability of pensions. It encourages the member states to allow portability of unemployment benefits up to six months.
Further, the current “employment package” introduces several changes to EURES – the European Job Mobility Portal. EURES is a cooperation network between the European Commission, the Public Employment Services of the EEA (The EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) countries and other organisations. EURES implements the labour market policy goals of the European Union by providing information, advice and job-matching services not only to workers and employers but also to citizens which want to move and work abroad. Making EURES a “true European placement and recruitment tool” is one of the most central goals of the current “employment package” through e.g. online services that map European job offers geographically (European Commission 2012).
Employment Committee (2011): Joint Employment Report 2011.
European Commission (2010): Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
European Commission (2012): Employment package: Towards job-rich recovery.
Labour and its Migration Trends in Latvia
During the first half of 2012 four extensive labour market researches were carried out in Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The main goal of the researches was to obtain information about the situation in labour market in the cross-border region, labour mobility trends and obstacles, and also to identify 50-70 professions which are highly demanded by employers of each partner region.
Although in the case of Latvia the cross-border region of the EU Central Baltic programme geographically covers Riga region, as well as western and northern parts of Latvia, however in reality, in the context of labour market, the whole territory of Latvia should be viewed as a single region. Latvia’s small economy and consequently its small labour market can be rather easily influenced and may be exposed to statistically significant changes caused by relatively slight impact of external factors, such as changes in investment flows or the opening of a factory. Furthermore, according to the recent, 2012, study by the Latvian Ministry of Welfare 67% of all work places in Latvia are located in the Riga region, while the rest are scattered in regions: central part of Latvia (Vidzeme) – 7%, western part (Kurzeme) – 10%, southern part (Zemgale) – 8%, and 9% in eastern part (Latgale). Given that Riga and its suburban area is home to about 50% of Latvian population at working age, it has resulted in a slower economic development in regions and labour shortage in Riga. Thus, the Riga region “absorbs” labour force from regions which causes a huge risk for the further regional development in Latvia.
Apart from a disproportionate size of the labour force breakdown by regions, and despite its small size, Latvian labour market has also other interregional differences concerning labour supply and demand. For instance, in Riga and its suburban area professions from various industries and sectors are demanded – primarily in business services, including sellers, sales managers, marketing specialists, as well as professions related to information and communication technology, programmers, analysts, designers; in health care – nurses, pharmacists, dentists, assistants, cosmetologists, masseurs; in hospitality and catering services – waiters, cooks, chiefs, bartenders. With rather good employment opportunities there is also a considerable demand for professionals of textile industry, including tailors, furniture technicians; in machine building and metalworking – welders, mechanics, and engineers; in food industry the particular demand is for confectioners; in construction – builders, plumbers. Similarly, professional hairdressers and electricians are also in rather high demand in Riga and its suburban area. Regional employment, however, has more specific labour demand breakdown by sectors and even such factor as the gender may determine ones job opportunities. For example, in central part of Latvia (Vidzeme) women are more likely to find a job in sales, while the highest rate of employment among men is in the woodworking sector. Another characteristics of the Vidzeme region a tendency to fill vacancies with the local labour force, while, for instance, in Kurzeme employers of certain sectors – metal processing and fish processing – are attracting foreign labour force from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, which can be explained by cheaper labour costs, shortage of local specialists with relevant skills, as well as differences in requirements between employers and employees, including salary, working conditions and other work related aspects.
Differences in requirements between employers and employees exist in all regions and they affect mainly wages and working conditions. Currently, taking into account the unemployment rate in many sectors, where the labour supply exceeds the demand, such as marketing, sales, and to a lesser extent in the textile industry, a situation has emerged where there is both – a large number of vacancies in the sector and a large number of job seekers for those vacancies. This situation allows employers to select the most advantageous option with higher qualification requirements and relatively lower working conditions including salary which often is unsatisfying for employees. These differences result in a relatively high staff turnover. In information and communication technology sector the situation is quite the opposite – the labour demand outweighs the supply as a result the employees can more freely negotiate working conditions and salary requirements. However, also in the latter case there is a slight personnel rotation, although it is more likely related to out-buy of specialists and better job offers to industry workers, including the specialists going for work abroad – labour migration.
Largest communities of Latvian migrant workers are located in United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Norway, and also Sweden. Latvian migrant workers are working in different sectors, including the intellectual work and occupations with higher qualification requirements, as well as work with lower qualification requirements and as unqualified workers. However, the most extensive and active labour migration among the Central Baltic countries takes place between Finland and Sweden where exchange of specialists can be observed in sectors such as health care, education, information technology and communications, construction, metallurgy, chemical industry and professionals in other sectors, including chefs, hairdressers, and engineers. Relatively high labour migration can also be observed from Estonia to Finland – in 2010 around 28`000 Estonian commuters worked in Finland in above mentioned sectors, as well as in agriculture, transportation, security, catering and other sectors.
Despite the fact that emigration from Latvia, including labour mobility, has been high in recent years, there are also considerable barriers existing in Latvian labour force mobility. The study showed that main mobility obstacles are – lack of language skills, uncertainty about safety and social conditions in the country of destination, different levels of wages and living standards (socio-economic, including tax differences, bureaucracy), disparities of working conditions and qualification requirements, infrastructure barriers, traditions and family circumstances that keep people at home, as well as lack of information. As for the latter – the lack of information, it should be emphasised that the public institutions and organizations related to labour market are pointing out that the information on job opportunities abroad and related aspects is available, which was also confirmed by the study. However, obstacles to labour mobility in this case are related to the structure of the available information, i.e., the necessary information is needed in a user-defined and structured way which in many cases, taking into account the individual needs of job seekers, is very different. Another specific labour mobility obstacle is different classification systems of the professions according to which the job seekers are classified by sectors and occupations, but not by their skills and abilities.
The results of all studies are integrated into Internet platform that is described in the article above.
CB Job Ferry Events Calendar
November 26, 2012
|Fourth Steering Committee meeting and Partner meeting
Organized by Turku University of Applied Sciences, (Project partners and Steering Committee members only)
November 27, 2012
|Central Baltic cross-border labour mobility workshop
(upon invitation only, please contact Ms Denize Ponomarjova, email@example.com)
December 7-8, 2012
|Participation in the fair “Darbs EXPO 2012” (Job Expo 2012)
Event will take place at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga. For more information seewww.bt1.lv)
|Fifth Steering Committee meeting and Partner meeting
Organized by Centre for European and Transition Studies, University of Latvia (Project Partners and Steering Committee members only)
|Central Baltic cross-border labour mobility workshop
(upon invitation only, please contact Ms Denize Ponomarjova, firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Final Conference. Labour mobility and recognition of professional qualifications in the Central Baltic region
(upon invitation only, please contact Ms. Denize Ponomarjova, email@example.com)
Please, let us know if you are interested in receiving news and information on labour market mobility also in the future by contacting us!
Project coordinator, Zane Zeibote, is a researcher at the University of Latvia Centre for European and Transition Studies.
University of Latvia – Centre for European and Transition Studies
Raina boulevard 19 (Raina bulvaris 19)