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Young people seeing supermarket employment as almost 'lottery win'

Eliise Metsniit working at a Rimi supermarket.
Eliise Metsniit working at a Rimi supermarket. Source: ERR

The coronavirus pandemic has put an end to the issues with staffing many stores have faced, as young people snap up the opportunity to find any kind of employment, to the extent some supermarkets are facing a situation where they do not have any open positions to offer.

Eliise Metsniit, from Märjamaa, has worked for three consecutive summers with her mother at a branch of Rimi near Tallinn. While Rimi, which has used the help of young people from summer camps in previous years, did not need any extra assistance, Eliise was still offered a position, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Thursday.

Metsniit commented: "When I've asked friends if they have worked or thought about working, many have said they just can't ,because of the coronavirus, and that noone is hiring young people."

Estonian companies have been complaining for years how the long working days are too taxing on the young people of today. The days are sometimes too long for Eliise too, she says, because she finishes early quite often.

She said of her future: "I'll look for work in the salesroom or ask someone if there's anything I can help with."

Selver, another supermarket, which held a campaign for youth employment last year, only offered positions to children of their current employees this year.

Rivo Veski, spokesperson for Selver, said: "When I was speaking to the personnel department this year about the situation, we had to acknowledge that we have not been in this situation for many years, we don't have any positions that need to be filled at Selver."

Head of the Tallinn student camp (Õpilasmalev) foundation Ott Väli said finding work has been complicated for young people this year, with gas station chain Circle K, summer event organizers and tourism companies also stopping hiring.

Väli said: "We received offers for strawberry picking instead. It's good that we even got this, but it is a complicated field and it's not the best option for a summer camp. A lot of it is weather-dependent."

Law student Joosep Kuuse, who was able to find employment at Rimi, said working in retail is not unusual for students, but traditionally people work in bars and restaurants instead. Working in a store is thought of as a bit monotonous.

He said, however, that: "It's better than sitting on the couch. And everyone likes money, we can't just live off air and love."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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