Galina Akhmerova: ‘Young employees are interesting in companies sharing their values’

An expert about key labour market trends and requests of Russia’s most able-bodied group

The youth must become the driver of economic growth, but it is necessary consider young people’s values and convictions to lure them to the labour market, experts stress. At the moment the Russian economy doesn’t offer a lot of jobs that are interesting for the youth. As founder of Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund and creator of Round platform Galina Akhmerova thinks, well-being, a work and life balance as well as expanded requests for additional medical insurance and support from the employer are going to become key trends in the labour market. Realnoe Vremya’s columnist explains this in another op-ed column for our newspaper.

Bet on youth values

The Childhood, Family and Education Research Institute published results of the annual value benchmarks among students (14-18 years) and youth (19-35) of Russia in April. For 60% of students, an active life stance is not a priority, while both physical and mental health became the main value for most surveyed students (61%) and youngsters (65%). The youth’s top 5 values also includes:

  • lactive life (40%; 34%);
  • love (36% and 36%);
  • financially secure life (35%; 41%);

Additionally, there were noted such values within the survey:

  • interesting job (27%; 31%);
  • happy family life (27%; 40%);
  • self-confidence (24%; 21%);
  • freedom (23%; 16%).

Even though people in Russia don’t really like Neil Howe and William Strauss’ generational theory, it demonstrates changes in age segments. Look at what is going to happen to the requests of Russia’s most able-bodied group in a few years. It seems that well-being, work and life balance as well as expanded requests for additional medical insurance and support from the employer are going to go to the forefront because young employees are interested in choosing companies sharing their values.

What does a teenage graduate see at job fairs?

There aren’t almost any studies on the correspondence of companies to the youth’s values in Russia, while those existing often consider a certain segment of vanguard employers. Moreover, even large businesses sometimes don’t think about reconsidering their viewpoint and don’t switch from the “HR manager” to the “HR and talent attraction.”

In our experience of interaction with the youth, we see a desire to understand and learn more about the modern market. What does a teenage graduate see when going to job fairs and doors open days? Brochures with officialise and speeches of speakers who were forced to come.

Moreover, the employer does his or her best, allocates money, designs the print, delegates the best employees. In practice, there is again a clash of two generations and misunderstanding of each other’s requests.

Together with Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund we are intermediaries in such communication, a translator for both sides. Our efforts are bringing results step by step. On 17 April, we launched the 2nd PROinterest skill development festival, which became annual. We are pleased to see that there are companies that trust us and look into the future with us: our partners — Tatneft, KAMA Tyres as well as KAMAZ that became the festival’s general partner this year — are again with us.

Valuable ideas and opportunity of new communication with youth

We see the creation of an opportunity for school students of the republic and Russia to get acquainted with companies and see them in the new light as our goal: a task from VTB bank is to assemble a mood board for the video “VTB is a bank for the youth;” Grid Company is looking for ideas of future filling stations among the younger generation; Kazan Fat Processing Factory is growing young agriculturists; Kazan Bread Baking Factory reminds them they are one of the few to use leaven; and the Competence Centre of the National Technological Initiative teaches how to create the first resumé without work experience with big data of Moscow State University. In addition, every building has a card in the format of info graphics to learn more details about the activity of a company.

Companies get valuable ideas and an opportunity of new communication with the youth, while lads at the same time both learn modern skills and do search. Of course, the best participants are given gifts: speakers, Alisa stations, fitness watches, different hobby sets. Motivation can start with something materials, and then it can increase to values. For instance, teenagers usually want to earn, and when participating in the festival they create a logical link that a benefit can be obtained from their skills and talents, which will consequently be converted into salary.

It is pleasant that the state in the person of the government of the Republic of Tatarstan supports us too. There have appeared activities for teachers in addition to ministries’ tasks for school students — of course, teachers’ competition includes gifts too. We believe that an ecosystemic approach from all the sides will allow making education available for all process members, this is why we need support from every chain.

This year the festival expanded its audience. After successful work experience with teenagers, we start working with college and university students. We will offer them paid internships from our partners and intellectual games.

I would like to remind you that the job seeker market is actively rejuvenating, and it will become harder to attract interested and enterprising employees because of the demographic pit in the country. Now it is a global challenge for all the sides, I believe that we will find the way of understanding each other and treat every party’s values with respect: the state, the employer and the job seeker.

Galina Akhmerova

The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.