Do our employers really pay low wages? Is it possible to get a job Lithuania without connections? Are women really paid less here? These questions were asked during the traditional summer event of the international professional network Global Lithuanian Leaders at the end of July. A discussion initiated by the international green energy company Ignitis Renewables took place, where Lithuanians from all over the world and foreigners working in Lithuania shared their authentic experiences and debunked some myths about working in the energy sector in Lithuania.

“The global network of Lithuanians brings together not only professionals in many fields, but also a friendly community that contributes to the growth of the Lithuanian economy, so discussions about opportunities to work in Lithuania are important and relevant to them,” says Marija Šaraitė, CEO at Global Lithuanian Leaders. According to her, this year’s professional networking event attracted more than 120 participants from 24 countries around the world, from Mexico to New Zealand. “Most of them are high added-value professionals who have not cut their ties with Lithuania and are ready to contribute to interesting and country-glorifying projects around the world when the opportunity arises,” says M. Šaraitė.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to listen to a discussion initiated by Ignitis Renewables on the myths about getting a job in Lithuania. The main conclusion was that although our country has not yet caught up with the UK or the Netherlands in terms of salaries, Lithuania is not far behind in terms of nature, working environment and management.

The main myths

As the discussion participants acknowledged, most of the myths are related to fears about the transparency of the recruitment process. Margaux Tamašauskas, Legal project manager at Ignitis Renewables, said that her new friends in Lithuania suggested that she should not even try to apply for a job in the energy sector after coming from France.

“Some people I know tried to convince me that the only way to get a job in the energy sector is through connections. In my case, it was the other way around – I was accepted as a professional in my field,” says M. Tamašauskas, who has a PhD in energy law and has worked in Paris for five years. According to her, in her native France, where she pursued her career, young professionals are often looked down upon and have to face many stereotypes. “I was pleasantly surprised to find a team in Lithuania that is motivated, goal-oriented and respects every opinion, regardless of gender or age,” says M. Tamašauskas.

The second myth, that salaries in Lithuania are lower and specialists are valued less than their competence is worth, was refuted by another participant of the discussion – Liudas Karalius, Product Owner at SoliTek. After about five years in the Spanish energy sector, he chose to continue his career in Lithuania and has no regrets about his decision.

“The technology industry in Lithuania, including energy, already boasts competitive salaries, and the choice is often determined not only by salary but also by quality of life. Being in your own environment, among family and friends, surrounded by beautiful nature, with forests and lakes nearby, makes you feel much happier,” says L. Karalius. He says that working with green energy, which is changing the whole of Lithuania, making it cleaner and more sustainable, is even more motivating.

Equal opportunities are important

Gerda Krasauskė, who has spent almost 17 years building her career in the UK, says that the equal opportunities situation in Lithuania has also changed rapidly in the six years she has been working there. She says that in one of the workplaces where she worked before joining Ignitis Renewables, she was the first female head of department, which was still unusual in the Lithuanian energy sector a few years ago.

“For a long time, energy has been perceived as a male-only field, but recently more and more professionals are turning to energy and see the prospects in it,” says G. Krasauskė. The myth that men in Lithuania are paid more than women in equivalent positions is also fading, she says. “I used to believe stereotypes about the lack of diversity in leadership positions in Lithuanian companies, but those stereotypes were quickly disproved,” says G. Krasauskė.

Ieva Augustinaitė, who spent almost ten years working in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is also inclined to dispel the myth that Lithuania still has Soviet-era management traditions. Ieva, who currently works as an investment analyst at Ignitis Renewables, makes no secret of the fact that there were doubts about whether her values and those of her employer would match.

“Working in Amsterdam gave me an impression of what a professional working environment, values, and psychological climate in organisations should be like, so there was no shortage of anxiety. When I came back to Lithuania, I saw that employees have freedom of ideas, a flexible working environment and working hours, and that managers are open and willing to help, demonstrating talent and competence,” says I. Augustinaitė. According to her, the reduced stress and improved work-life balance also help to compensate for the income gap caused by starting in a new position in Lithuania.