The mass redundancies in the information technology (IT) sector at leading companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and others show that the list of the most sought-after professionals in the global labour market is changing. “HR management and sustainability specialists are professions that the world’s leading employers already hunt. In 2018-2022, the demand for these experts grew the fastest and is likely to continue to grow,” says Greta Gruodė, Head of the Department of Management at the Faculty of Business Management of Vilniaus kolegija / Higher education institution (VIKO).
She points out that the global labour market is gradually changing from being purely profit-oriented to being concerned with environmental and social issues.
“These changes are not bypassing Lithuania either. In order to look attractive and responsible and to keep up with global trends, businesses are increasingly focusing not only on how to make more money but also on social indicators: attracting, retaining, engaging employees, and creating a good atmosphere in the organization. All this can be ensured by the currently in-demand HR specialists, whose main task is to ensure that all employees feel good to come to work and comfortable to work efficiently,” says G. Gruodė.
The demand for HR professionals has grown the most in the last four years. Talent acquisition specialists, business development representatives, customer success specialists, analysts and workplace coordinators are currently the most sought-after in the job market.
“These are global trends, so not all of these specialties are heard and understood by us. However, this is the reality and everyday life of Lithuanian companies. In the future, more and more organizations will be looking for a wider range of HR professionals. According to the latest data, the demand for talent acquisition specialists alone has grown by 53% over the last year,” claims G. Gruodė.
Growing demand for sustainability professionals
Back in 2019, the European Green Deal set an ambitious Europe-wide target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A representative of VIKO is convinced that Europe will only become a climate-neutral continent if the latest requirements are considered by public authorities and the business sector: “The way to do this is to bring sustainability experts into the team.”
According to employment statistics from Europe and the United States, the demand for sustainability professionals will grow by around 10% by 2030, faster than the average for other occupations.
“Sustainability professionals ensure that companies comply with the latest European Union (EU) directives that oblige businesses to operate sustainably and socially responsibly. For example, using renewable energy sources, moving away from polluting diesel, and adopting social and technological innovations to reduce CO2 emissions. Involving communities in decision-making, running social and support campaigns, looking after the welfare of employees, etc. These professionals are already in high demand in the labour market and their popularity with employers will only grow in the future. This is why we pay particular attention to sustainability and social responsibility at VIKO Faculty of Business Management. For example, the subject “Sustainable Development” is compulsory for all students of the Faculty of Business Management,” says the Head of the VIKO Department of Management.
Soft skills for success
According to G. Gruodė, the world is changing too fast for the chosen field of study to determine the rest of a person’s life: “The chosen studies provide knowledge and practice, and in order to succeed in a career, every professional needs the so-called soft skills: creativity, flexibility, communication, the ability to effectively plan time, work in a team, set goals, and manage crisis situations.”
The head of the VIKO Department of Management also notes that creativity is one of the few skills that artificial intelligence (AI) will never replace: “If you think you are uncreative and cannot change it, you are wrong. Creativity is a learned skill. You just have to work on it. Just as we strengthen our muscles by exercising, we develop our creativity through various creativity methods.”
“All soft skills are essential to an employee’s success. Employers emphasize that they need specialists who are curious and committed to continuous learning because only such people can grow together with the company. And it is during their studies, by listening to invited guests – business representatives, taking part in meetings, discussions and visits to various companies, that students learn from professionals how to become successful in their careers,” says G. Gruodė.
According to the expert, the most important thing for a young person is to get a feel for what they are interested in and then start to delve deeper into their chosen field and take advantage of the opportunity to do a professional practice. “VIKO nurtures students who want to do meaningful work. They quickly integrate into the labour market, make a difference in organizations where they were just trainees, and now successfully develop their careers there,” tells G. Gruodė.