Lithuania is attributed to the group of European countries where employment opportunities for young
people are highly dependent on the education obtained. In Lithuania, the level of employment among
graduates with higher education is high, especially among graduates of recent years who have
completed study programmes that are in demand and are orientated toward the new needs of the
changing economy and labour market of the country.
According to the data provided by the Department of Statistics at the Government of the Republic of
Lithuania, in 2005 the unemployed with a higher education accounted for 11% of the total number of
the unemployed. The data obtained from the Lithuanian Labour Exchange indicate that in 2005 and
2006 about 7 – 8% of all the HEI graduates respectively were registered in labour exchanges (cf. to
2002, when out of the total number of unemployed persons registered in territorial labour exchanges
there were 2.6 thousand persons with a higher education (12.6%)). University graduates find it easier
to get a job and they are more readily given a better-paid post than college graduates. This is
particularly true of those holding a Master’s degree. The majority of those registered in the labour
exchange are pre-school and primary education, business administration and management, and
humanities specialists. The greatest demand is for specialists in the fields of informatics and
information systems, Western European languages, psychology and counseling, certain fields of
management, and economics.
Most higher education institutions have established their own career centres, which provide to their
students general career guidance and individual counseling, offer trainings on employment issues,
help students to find a job and employers to hire the right candidates. In 2006, commissioned by the
Ministry of Education and Science, the Lithuanian Union of Students’ Representations carried out a
fact-finding survey in higher education institutions with the aim of ascertaining the character of
activities the centres undertake, students’ attitude to the activities carried out by the career centres,
and the possibilities of their further development. For example, the career centre set up in Vilnius
University has already signed cooperation agreements with almost all the counties of Lithuania. In the
centre, businesspersons will offer jobs and the university will offer its graduates to potential employers.
Among the activities the career centre is engaged in are career fairs or career days during which
students gain more information about the needs and tendencies of the labour market and learn to
understand the requirements employers expect university students and graduates to meet, information
and knowledge-enhancement seminars, which provide students with a possibility to receive
counselling on the relevant career-related issues like job search, document preparation, stress
management, preparation for a job interview. The centre organizes study visits and provides
information on the on-going seminars or conferences.
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Integration and Career Office is a subdivision responsible for
in-service training and re-qualification, continuous studies, professional guidance, career development
monitoring, assistance in job search, and coordination between the university and external institutions.
The main objective of the Office is to promote cooperation between the university, enterprises and
government agencies in the spheres related to counselling, expert work, participation in programmes,
in-service training and re-qualification of specialists, student guidance and placement of graduates.
The Office has developed an Internet job search system, which provides information to students on job
vacancies according to the fields of study.
Similar services are provided by the Youth Labour Centres established at the city and regional labour
exchanges. They offer open information, consulting, professional information and guidance services to
young people, organize interaction with the labour market and social partners, develop youth
employment initiative projects, organize various events (occupational clubs, professional guidance
events, trainings) and prepare informative-methodological materials.
Another sphere of activities orientated to two objectives is promoting cooperation between HEIs and
employers by including employers in the governance bodies (councils) of HEIs and by encouraging
their more active involvement in the process of quality assurance, both internal and external. Recently,
the representatives of industrialists and employers have more often undertaken initiative to influence
the development of specialists in higher education institutions expecting a result they need, i.e. not
only development of specialists but also a high quality of their development. Consolidated in higher
education strategic documents, this tendency deserves encouragement as involvement of employers
into the system of higher education, apart from other advantages, may prove to be an additional
alternative source of funding higher education. HEIs, too, seek orientation toward the needs of labour
market and, in developing new study programmes, they take into consideration the lack of specialists
in certain fields or the changing demands of the labour market. With a need of certain specialists
established, the Ministry may approve targeted study programmes. To alleviate the shortage of IT
specialists, special long-term programmes were approved (2002–2004). After Lithuania’s accession to
the EU, the country faced an increasing shortage of translators/interpreters, which necessitated new
programmes as well as improvement of the quality of their development. These tendencies also add to
better opportunities of employment for the future HEI graduates. It is not infrequent that students know
in advance what their future job placement is going to be or they start their working career before
completing their higher education.
In preparing specialists, colleges Kolegija orientate their programmes to the needs of the labour market
and to practical application of the knowledge acquired. In the course of studies attention is focused on
practice placements and the links with the world of work.
Colleges are members of various associations, they cooperate with other institutions of higher
education and maintain relations with social partners.
Institutions: Vilnius Gediminas Technical University