Supply and Demand on the Local Labor Market
Published: September 21, 2011 (Issue # 1675)
ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT
Assembly line workers in St. Petersburg earn an average of 20,000 to 25,000 rubles ($640 to $800) per month.
It’s a sad fact of life that what one loves to do does not always translate into a viable career.
And while it is true that those who are most passionate about their professions are usually better professionals, the realities of the market often narrow the field to the point that it is sometimes more sensible to look for a career that can provide a living wage rather than relying solely on criteria such as job satisfaction. When ideas of prestige motivate people in their choice of career, such as in Russia where lawyers and economists are seen to be the most authoritative professions, the market becomes saturated reducing both demand and wages.
“All of the professions are in demand. It’s wrong to say that one profession is more sought after than another,” said Yury Virovets, president of the HeadHunter.ru recruitment company. “I think that claims about the abundance or lack of certain specialists are doubtful. More likely it’s an abundance of people with higher education and elevated salary demands lacking the knowledge and skills to be awarded such compensation.”
“Nonetheless, there are objective market demands and, in general, fewer pilots will always be needed than programmers or sales managers,” he told The St. Petersburg Times.
Government officials, however, admit that Russia lacks qualified workers: Fitters, factory workers and technicians.
“Highly qualified professionals are in demand now,” Virovets said. “And not only office workers, but also blue-collar workers.” But with an average monthly salary of about 20,000 rubles ($720) in St. Petersburg, the government won’t see many young people willing to become an assembly line worker. Moreover, these professions are not considered to be prestigious by youngsters and their parents. Yet having these specialists is, along with white-collar workers, essential for the country’s sustainable development.
The demand for highly qualified engineers is also growing. According to HeadHunter research from August 2011, there were 80 percent more vacancies in the sphere of the extraction of raw materials than a year ago. They are not only offered a good salary but, in some cases, the opportunity to travel if the company has foreign partners.
Arina Medvedeva, a senior consultant with the Avrio Group Consulting recruitment agency, said that sales professionals have been in demand for the past several years. And since high sales figures are always needed, the companies monitor the recruitment market and try to retain valuable specialists, according to Medvedeva.
“Here we can see efforts to ‘poach’ employees,” she said. “The main incentive is, of course, material motivation. Those who offer better packages always win.”
The employment situation in St. Petersburg has its own peculiarities. “We are seeing demand for technical and engineering specialists grow,” Medvedeva said. “Young and active professionals who know English are also sought as foreign… companies rapidly develop a presence in the city.”
Marketing and PR specialists are some of the least viable professions in St. Petersburg, according to Medvedeva. “The number of specialists is several times higher than demand,” she said. “The main reason is that many companies have their head offices in Moscow. Thus the major demand for marketing analysts, advertising agents and PR specialists is in Moscow.”