In addition to IT skills, employers in the Central and Eastern European, Baltic, Balkan and Finnish recruitment markets are increasingly requiring candidates to have a working knowledge of at least two languages. As in 2016, salespersons and IT professionals continue to be among the desired workers.
Based on the job postings in 11 countries’ recruitment portals in early 2017, the most heavily advertised positions are expected to remain the same as in the previous year. That is, Salespersons and IT professionals are forecast to continue as the most wanted workers by far. Trailing behind but still among the types of jobseekers who are in highest demand are administrative workers and finance professionals, followed by cooks and health professionals.
Not surprisingly, companies across all the countries surveyed are requiring applicants to possess some level of IT literacy, almost regardless of the type of position advertised. The IT competencies called for vary widely, from basic computer knowledge and familiarity with MS Excel all the way to expertise in UX design and mobile application development. In Finland for instance, where the unemployment rate is still relatively high, positions such as those in IT have been difficult to fill due to the lack of qualified candidates.
Foreign language skills increasingly required
Another notable trend is the increasing number of open positions requiring foreign language skills. For example, in Croatia, where the majority of vacant posts are in the Tourism and Sales categories, both basic computer knowledge as well as foreign languages are musts for applicants, aside from previous work experience. On the other hand, in Lithuania, candidates are required to have excellent skills in two to three languages for the most posted jobs titles, which are for Supply, Trading or Purchasing positions.
Employers in Latvia are expected to have difficulties filling vacancies specifically because of the lack of suitable candidates with the required language skills. Younger Russian speakers are especially sought after, as well as customer service staff with Scandinavian language skills for the country’s growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) or Shared Service Centre (SSC) sectors.
SSC sector driving demand
The strong development of shared service centres is driving the need for multilingual workers not only in Latvia, but also in Hungary and Poland, as well as in the Czech Republic. In the latter, the SSC sector currently employs about 65,000 people – a figure that is expected to exceed 100,000 by 2020. Jobs.cz saw a 20% increase in vacancies posted for multilingual positions for 2016, with further growth anticipated this year.
Companies in the Czech Republic’s SSC segment aim to fill vacancies with young graduates with German, French, Dutch, Swedish and Italian skills in particular. In Poland, where the SSC sector employs 200,000 and delivers services in 37 languages, Hungarian, Danish or Finnish speakers are also in demand.
Apart from IT and language skills, soft attributes such as good communication skills, resistance to stress and leadership capabilities are foreseen to remain highly valued by employers. In Hungary for example, where similarly to Croatia and Lithuania, a continuing shortage of qualified labour force is anticipated due to high emigration, more and more employers are realizing that hard skills can be trained. In contrast, personality and the motivation to develop professionally play a more important role, enabling employees to integrate more easily into their organizations’ cultures.