At the Riga Investment and Tourism Agency, the year 2023 has started both with innovations in facilitating the attraction of professionals and international companies: the international talent attraction platform Work in Riga has been created, and the Workcation program has been made more accessible, inviting companies to spend a paid "working vacation" in Riga.
Attracting talent – main challenge for cities
The availability of a qualified workforce primarily determines Riga's international competitiveness. Therefore, it will be a significant challenge for cities now and in the future. The issue of labour attraction is also the main focus of the Council of Investors established last year, which the Council also indicated in an open letter to Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.
Riga has taken an important step to address the labour shortage by creating a digital platform unique in Latvia called Work in Riga. The platform offers information conveniently and understandably for job seekers from European Union countries outside the EU and those from the Latvian diaspora abroad. It is the only platform that provides clear and understandable information in one place on all matters related to moving and starting a job. The available information is also useful for companies already operating in Riga and potential investors.
The workforce is the most crucial aspect when investing in Riga.
The labour shortage is the main problem in the economic development of Riga and the country. It is also the determining factor that foreign and local investors consider before deciding to invest in a particular area. When deciding to carry out investment projects in the Baltic States, foreign investors often choose Lithuania and Estonia, where effective talent attraction policies are being implemented. Currently, Riga has the potential to attract foreign investments of 1 billion euros, thus creating 3,000 new jobs; however, the implementation and approval of these projects primarily depend only on whether the relevant labour resource will be available.
Riga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis points out:
"The labour shortage affects not only new investors but also existing companies operating in Riga, which in the medium term are forced to review their operational plans. The Riga Investment and Tourism Agency has taken the first step to help investors and entrepreneurs by creating the Work in Riga platform, providing information in one place for citizens of other countries about the processes that must be carried out to start working in Latvia. It should be noted that this is the first content of its kind that collects such information in one place and, of course, is useful not only for talents looking for a job but also for investors and companies already operating in Riga."
Work in Riga platform created with the involvement of entrepreneurs
Work in Riga was developed by the professional personnel management and development agency ERDA.
Company founder Zane Čulkstēna points out: "Those that can attract and retain employees will continue to exist. Estonia realized this already 20 years ago, and Lithuania - 10 years ago. Latvia will tackle this issue only this year, but Riga is leading the way and setting an example by helping Riga-based companies with information and marketing to attract foreign talent and talent from the Latvian diaspora abroad. As a first step, this is very welcome."
The company Printify also participated in the development of the platform. "We highly appreciate Riga's initiative to create a platform that allows potential workers from abroad and Latvian employers to find valuable information on aspects affecting the employment of foreign talent in Latvia in one place. The platform will be a valuable knowledge base both for employers who have already gained experience in employing foreigners and those who are still planning to do so. Printify is headquartered in Riga, but we are proud that our team consists of outstanding talents from 28 countries. I am happy to be part of this project and share my knowledge and experience with others," says Anda Zubovska, Head of Personnel Mobility and Process Quality at Printify.
Workcation – a modern form of investment attraction
To attract foreign companies to Riga and to develop and positively influence the city's economy and business activities, a work vacation or Workcation program was launched at the end of 2022. As part of the program, participants can work and live in Riga and get to know the city's opportunities, local work ethics, people and environment. Working holidays are becoming increasingly popular under the influence of several factors: it provides the opportunity to work remotely, as well as the desire of entrepreneurs to balance private and work life. Therefore, the Workcation program is a relevant and necessary solution for attracting new investments today.
There have been made changes in the Workcation program, and it has been made more accessible. Companies applying for the Workcation program this year must have a turnover of at least EUR 5 million in 2022 instead of the previous EUR 10 million, have not had a registered structural unit in Latvia and employ at least 25 employees. The company that qualifies for the set requirements will receive a plan personally developed and adapted to specific needs, which, if necessary, will include a meeting with the leadership of the Riga City Council and opinion leaders, as well as with companies in a similar industry. More information about the program and how to apply can be found here.
The Riga Investment and Tourism Agency, founded in April 2021, has now grown to a strong team of thirty people, covering the areas of investment, tourism and Riga's international positioning, with the main emphasis on improving business activities, the climate of the business environment and attracting direct foreign investment. Furthermore, it is planned that the Live Riga agency will create and implement new specialized support mechanisms for global business services in 2023, facilitating the creation of well-paid jobs.
Information prepared by: Rita Pētersone, Head of brand division