Talents, Labour Market and Quality of Work Lithuania

Labour costs consist of gross earnings and non-wage costs. According to Eurostat, in 2016 Lithuania was among three countries with the lowest labour costs in the EU, with an average of 8.20 € (compared to rank 1 – Denmark with an average of 43.40 €). For the non-wage costs, Lithuania ranked three within the EU, with 28.3 € on top of every salary/wage of 100 €.

The status of the labour market from a game production view can be expressed through different indicators:

  • Unemployment rate in 2016 was 7.9%, reflecting a continuous decrease since 2014 (rate 10.7%). The share of technology professions unemployment of total unemployment is just 5%.
  • In Lithuania, freelance and self-employed labour is under-developed and not very popular, yet. In 2016, Lithuania had 7.6% freelance/self-employed people.
  • Lithuania in the labour market lacks of IT professionals, as foreign investment has increased the demand of IT specialists, meanwhile education institutions cannot satisfy the whole demand with their educated students. The share of ICT staff of total employees is just 2.1%.

Games education
In 2016 the total students in higher education were 93,524 of which just 6.6% were foreign students. Higher education students constitute 3% of the Lithuanian population.
30,500 started their studies in 2017, and 27,600 graduated (all grades, B.A., M.A., PhD etc.) in 2017 of which approx. 2,359 were ICT/creative industries students. Of the 45 higher education institutions (public and private) in Lithuania, only 3 have strong focus on technology. But the number of specialized university courses including or focusing on games development is higher – 15 universities and colleges have ICT courses, 6 of them have special game development courses.
The average annual cost for studying at public universities is around 1,000 – 5,000 €. In 2017, the state spent 17% of its total household on education schemes.
In Lithuania, English language is a mandatory course throughout secondary education levels, there are 87% of students in secondary schools who are learning English language.
Lithuania offers six universities or private colleges with study programmes focused on games development. In Lithuania, the highest academic degree to be earned is a M.A. in Game design at the KTU (Kaunas University of Technology) which is a public institution. The other public university – Mykolas Romeris University offers a game development program implemented in collaboration with Finland University.
There are around 250 enrolments per year for game specific university courses.
In Lithuania support for R&D activities is below EU average. Public expenditure in 2017 has been slightly over 55 m €, which constitutes 0.95% of the total spending of Lithuanian government and expresses support of a range of research associations and institutions. Compared to this, private investment was almost twice as public expenditure – 103 m €.

Recommendation: the government should prioritize innovations and investment into R&D activities as this reduces risk for innovative enterprises.

In total, 14 472 non-European foreigners work in Lithuania. The vast majority of them are from the European Union, only 4% of them are non-European foreigners. Lithuania has granted 17,161 visas to work in Lithuania in 2016.

Quality of employment
Lithuania’s salary levels are comparatively low, matching the low rent and living conditions. The situation in Vilnius is slightly different. It is a hotspot for high-tech companies, therefore salaries are relatively higher. The Lithuanian game industry report (2017), states that the average salary for a full-time employed game developer is around 1,500 €/month. It is quite a high salary compared to the average salary in Lithuania which is less than 900 €/month. In Lithuania there are 16.3% high-wage earners who have an income of at least 150% of average income.

The gender pay gap is approx. 18% in Lithuania.

Status: 01/2019