About happiness, limits and international opportunities for Latvian software engineers

Maximising happiness in the Latvian digital recruitment scene

Irina is a self-announced Chief Happiness Officer from Latvia, a small country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe and one of the three Baltic States. As a matter of fact, Irina is a tech recruitment expert from Riga, the Latvian capital, who manages LikeIT, the Latvian YBorder partner that joined the network in July 2015. When asked about the unusual title Irina has also chosen for her LinkedIn profile, the HR and recruitment expert of seven years clearly emphasizes her company’s business priorities: making sure that LikeIT’s candidates and clients but also her team are happy and motivated at work to deliver the best results.

How Latvian developers stand out in the world

As a small nation counting only about 2 million inhabitants, people tend to know little about the country that shares borders with Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. In order to get a better understanding of her candidates we ask her to describe to us what Latvian candidates distinguishes from those coming from elsewhere: “It is their sense of responsibility and reliability”, she replies without hesitation. “Latvian developers can be trusted with complicated problems, they are passionate about problem solving, they can be the definition of workaholics.”

A well-developed local startup scene but missing global opportunities

It is estimated that there are around 900 startups in the three Baltic countries. For a population of approximately 6.3 million this makes nearly 14 companies for every 100,000 people – certainly an impressive number of a sector that is still developing strongly and will offer more interesting opportunities for many people in the future. What does Irina think? “The startup scene is well-developed with more and more exists happening in the region. Internationally known companies have opened service centres in the country and in Lithuania and Estonia. However, those wanting to experience a true global experience within an international player can be disappointed as this field is still relatively limited.”

“Candidates first” at YBorder and its Latvian partner LikeIT

As one of the early editions to the international tech recruitment network, we are curious about LikeIT’s motivation to join YBorder. “I very much rely on my gut when making decisions. I liked YBorder’s concept from the start. I think the platform and YBorder’s candidate-centred approach, reflecting very much our own, have a lot of potential to transform the sector and to help realise our candidate’s ambitions.” Later when she is asked how YBorder is perceived among her candidates she will add that they feel special to be invited to YBorder which she summarises as an “international VIP marketplace for software engineers”.

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Going abroad to grow professionally and technically

According to Irina, Latvians tend to be pretty security-oriented. “For more experienced developers, the option to go abroad often comes up after identifying professional long-term objectives. Going abroad would be part of a thought-through career plan rather than a spontaneous decision,” states Irina whose dad is also developer. She adds that especially younger candidates seek the adventure and that it is them who would be more spontaneous. “On the whole, working abroad is a means to grow professionally and technically.”

Reaching career goals: “Find out what you want and why”

Does Irina have any advice for her candidates to maximise their happiness and avoid disappointment? “I think it is important to find out what you want and why. In terms of your career development this means: Define your professional objectives, develop a timeframe and identify steps to reach your objectives.”


Are you a Latvian developer and want to go abroad to reach your objectives? Check out YBorder for more information or get in touch with LikeIT:

Web: www.likeit.lv
Twitter: @LikeIT_Latvia
Facebook: facebook.com/likeitlv
LinkedIn: LikeIT

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