Staff, Employers Look for Flexibility at Work

Staff, Employers Look for Flexibility at Work

Published: December 12, 2012 (Issue # 1739)


With big construction projects such as the Zenit stadium ongoing, experts expect the city’s demand for migrant workers to stay high.

This year has witnessed a turning point in the attitude of employees toward their work, and according to recruitment experts, family and hobbies are now employees’ top priorities. In other indicators, the labor market has maintained stability and gradual growth throughout the year.

“None of the various economy sectors have seen mass reductions or serious recruitment during 2012,” said Alexander Yegorov, director of the northwest branch of Ancor recruitment agency. “The majority of cases in which employers turned to recruitment agencies were linked to the internal rotation of employees within companies, insignificant expansion or the dismissal of staff,” he said.

Among the trends to emerge in 2012, experts have identified the readiness of employees to change their workplace at any moment and even to abandon a traditional work format in favor of their own business, freelance or creative activities.

“This trend is more typical for young people, for the so-called ‘Generation Y’ [the demographic cohort including those born from the late 1970s to the early 2000s],” said Yulia Sakharova, director of the St. Petersburg branch of HeadHunter recruitment agency. “This generation has already occupied its niche on the labor market — more than 50 percent of active applicants are people from 22 to 30 years old,” she said.

“Within the trends forming now, the winners on the labor market are employers who understand the significance of work and life balance, who are ready to develop not only the professional but also the human qualities of employees and pay attention to the non-working aspects of staff’s lives,” she added.

As a result, a trend emerged this year of giving employees the opportunity to choose a working schedule that most suits them. This trend, according to HeadHunter experts, will develop further in 2013.

“Another trend stemming from the global change in priorities and from the search for meaning in work is an increase of trust and interest in public services,” said Sakharova. “The number of jobseekers interested in working for state establishments grew five-fold during 2012, indicating the formation of a new pool of people prepared to work in the public sector for the well-being of society.”

The unemployment level in St. Petersburg is one of the lowest in Russia. According to Ancor experts, this is linked to the city’s traditionally well-developed spheres of engineering, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), the construction and banking sectors, tourism, retail, IT and telecommunications.

“These are all flagship fields for the St. Petersburg economy; they create new jobs and stimulate demand for personnel,” said Yegorov.

The most in-demand occupations traditionally include sales specialists, IT and telecommunications experts and engineering and manufacturing staff. In 2012, companies including Bosch and MAN opened large plants in St. Petersburg. The pharmaceutical production company Polisan is expanding its operations, and Gazprom’s ongoing policy of relocating its subdivisions to the city is creating new jobs. Recruitment specialists predict that in 2013, the demand for working personnel will continue to grow.

“At the moment the market cannot satisfy the growing demand for workers in the manufacturing and engineering spheres,” said Sakharova.

“As a result, there is great demand for migrant workers, both Russian and foreign. Nowadays, workers themselves are ready to relocate if a job offer is interesting,” she added.

According to HeadHunter research, the level of personnel mobility increased by 34 percent in 2012, compared with the previous year. The most mobile professionals are top managers, as the move does not represent a serious dent in their budget. However, the readiness of blue-collar workers to relocate is also growing.

“This trend will remain during the next few years and will be supported by high-profile events like the football championship in 2018, and the construction of large infrastructure objects and other large projects on both an international and federal level,” said Sakharova.

The most popular places to relocate to in Russia are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

Requirements for qualifications and skills are becoming tougher — employers do not want to take a ‘pig in a poke,’ said Sakharova. Experience, references and professional achievements are important for future employers, but jobseekers are also paying more attention to their choice of job and employer.

“They are learning to sell themselves at interviews, negotiate their salary and secure better conditions,” said Sakharova. “An important factor for both sides is the concurrence of corporate ideology and the jobseeker’s personal concept of what amounts to right and wrong in work and corporate life,” she added.

Salaries in St. Petersburg increased by 8-10 percent in 2012, while inflation this year ran at 6.8-7 percent, according to Ancor specialists.

Next year is not expected to bring a significant boom in business activity. The pace of labor market growth depends both on the growth of the Russian economy and on that of the world economy.

“Assuming we don’t take into account the potential scenario of a snowballing of the global economic crisis, the situation on the labor market in 2013 will be the same as in 2012,” said Yegorov.

“We also expect to see an increase in competition for personnel next year, as the demographic gap hits home, causing growth in competition on the domestic market,” he said.

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