A career guidance expert on how universities manage to reform and adapt to new labor market demands
Last week, Labor Minister Anton Kotyakov claimed tensions were growing in Russia’s labor market as the number of registered unemployed rose in June. The Minister associated this with the pressure of sanctions on our country. In this situation, the personnel market dictates new conditions, but Russian universities do not have time to adapt to the required graduate specialists. The author of the Round mobile application for vocational guidance for adolescents Galina Akhmerova writes more about the problem in an opinion column for Realnoe Vremya.
“Students give their full attention to getting good results in state exams”
Statistically, only 30% of adults in Russia work by trade and only half of them do so with their first university degree. Most people only understand what they see in life over time and retrain to learn the trades that interest them.
This happens because an important decision has to be made at the age of 16-17. At this age, students managed to understand future specialties little and try something. In addition, in high school, students focus all their attention on obtaining good results in state exams, which leads to a situation in which the choice of a major is based on the subjects on which they can pass better. exams and get the necessary grades. Because the last thing is an important factor when qualifying for a government scholarship and choosing future profession.
According to RBC statistics in universities across the country in 2021, here are the main fields chosen by university students:
This sphere is among the main areas of training in many universities at once – National Research University of the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, ITMO University, St. Petersburg State University, University Bauman, National University of Science and Technology, Novosibirsk State University, Far Eastern Federal University.
- Applied mathematics
In most cases, the traditional specialties of each university share the second and third places in most cases: for Tomsk Polytechnic University it is oil and gas, power engineering, at the University national science and technology, it is the science of materials. At HSE, marketing and market analysis come first, and foreign languages complete the top 3. Economics, management and jurisprudence also remain popular.
Now we offer you to look at the statistics of hh.ru, the areas in demand by employers and the areas in which applicants are looking for a job.
“University applicants will pursue other degrees”
So what we see: a company is looking for professionals in a field, there are few or no applicants in this field, while university students pursue other degrees.
It is pleasing that IT is in the top 3 for all three sectors (employers, candidates and entrants). I have noticed that the university has become less conservative and I try to talk more with their potential candidates. They Doors Open Days not only offline but also online. They cooperate with complementary schools which train teenagers to enter a university. Many have had marketing departments working with parent and teen audiences. It is important that they not only tell them about the university and the training program, but also that they understand how the faculty relates to the real professions.
The second positive side is that there are cases where a university not only becomes a platform for obtaining an education, but also a place where the student meets his future employer. The Higher School of Economics, for example, creates faculties in partnership with a company from the start. During a recently organized EdCrunch forum in the autonomous district of Khanti-Mansi, I had the opportunity to speak with the directorate of education of this region, and I was surprised that all the students of the year 3 are already integrated into work in companies and therefore have a better understanding of where they will go to work after graduation. Of course, these are examples to follow. We communicate a lot with companies and, unfortunately, not all employers understand the importance of correct and early career guidance. They come to compete for “ready” graduates and are little involved in school and college events, so they have almost no influence on the training of future specialists.
What we see best are occasional meetings with high school students, the creation of specialized classes oriented towards the demands of a company’s personnel and competitions. Such a picture can often be observed: 80% of incoming faculty in a university of exploration and production-related geology are girls. Most of them will no longer work by trade in the future due to the remoteness of working from home, long-term business travel and other nuances.
Where do these 80% of girls come from? The case is that chemistry is one of the subjects to enter university. It is a difficult exam that boys rarely take at school. I always talk about the long school-college-company-parents link.
If we don’t want a disproportion between the candidates and the professions that a company really needs, as is currently the case, it is important to work in collaboration with schools, clubs and online platforms from the sixth or seventh year. This is the purpose of our Round application.
The lack of cooperation leads to a shortage of personnel in some sectors and a surplus of candidates in others. This system can be balanced if each member of the process realizes that they are a link in the chain and that they see the big picture. Not only what is taught in college matters, but also the experience a student has gained before college and what awaits them after. The employer must be the main interested party. Universities, in turn, should establish partnerships between each faculty and certain partner employers and organize on-the-job training for students not to tick a box for an educational report but for the fulfillment of students in the workplace.
*according to a survey by the Public Opinion Foundation
The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.