The majority of graduate jobs are likely to be found in Riga, the capital, and employers usually require a good command of Latvian.

The job market What are your chances of getting a job?

Latvia suffered during the recession and as a result unemployment rates grew. Things are now improving but the labour market hasn't fully recovered yet. A rapid increase in the number of available jobs isn't expected but your best chances are in the capital of Riga, where unemployment is lowest.

Unemployment rates are high which means workers should be available, however Latvian employers have reported a difficulty in being able to find people with the relevant qualifications and certain skills including communication, presentation, negotiation and computer skills. If you can show evidence of these in your application you may increase your chances of finding a job.

A good command of Latvian is usually required but employers also look for knowledge of foreign languages including English and Russian.

Where can you work?

  • Major industries: processed foods, wood products, textiles, processed metals, transit, synthetic fibres, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
  • Recent growth areas: an increase in demand for highly skilled professionals is expected, particularly in manufacturing and commercial services.
  • Industries in decline: all sectors are expected to have less demand for low-skilled labour and the demand for medium-skilled agricultural workers will decrease.
  • Shortage occupations: jobs may be found in state administration, commerce, manufacturing, transportation and health and social care. Construction specialists, pharmacologists and engineers may also be in demand.
  • Major companies: Grindex Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceuticals), Phillip Morris International (tobacco company), KPMG (professional services), Latvenergo (utilities), Lattelecom (IT and telecommunications), Tele2 (telecommunications), AirBaltic (national airline).

What's it like working in Latvia?

  • Average working hours: a standard working day can't exceed eight hours while a normal working week is 40 hours. Overtime is permitted if agreed by both employer and employee.
  • Holidays: employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid leave and all public holidays a year.
  • Tax rates: income from paid work is subject to social insurance contributions at a rate of 10.5% by the employee. Private income tax is at a rate of 24%. Don't forget to check your UK tax and National Insurance position withHM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure that you are not losing any UK pension rights.

Applying for jobs

As some jobs are advertised online it's possible to apply for work while still in the UK. Typical application methods include a CV and covering letter, with some larger companies using application forms. It's also possible to send speculative applications which state the type of work you're looking for and why you're interested in working for that particular company.

It's most likely that Latvian employers will expect your application to be in Latvian as most jobs require some knowledge of the language. Russian, German and English may also be used in employment so check job advertisements carefully for language requirements.

CVs are typically similar to those used in the UK. Your CV and covering letter should be tailored to each specific job that you apply for. Make sure your covering letter explains why you're applying for the role and want to work for that company in Latvia.

Interviews are also similar to those carried out in the UK. International employers will use their normal selection procedures, which may include aptitude tests and assessment centres.

Research a company before attending an interview, including the location of its European headquarters and its main product/work. Consider the challenges of an Eastern European economy. Get more applications and CV advice.

Vacancy sources Job websites

  • Academic Jobs EU
  • CV Online – Latvia

Recruitment agencies

  • Eurociett: the European Confederation of Private Employment Agencies is a regulatory body for recruitment agencies and has a directory of members.
  • Course Browser

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