On March 15, the Mikhailovskaya Dacha campus of the Graduate School of Management of Saint Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) became the largest platform for dialogue between young people and representatives of authorities, business and science. About two thousand students had a chance to ask questions on career building to top managers and recruiters from more than 100 companies and state organizations at the St. Petersburg International Youth Labor Forum. Students and experts from Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Stavropol, Voronezh, Kaliningrad and Tver, as well as from other countries — China, Austria and India — took part in the event. The forum was organized by the Saint Petersburg University and the city Government with the help of GSOM SPbU students.
The event started by the plenary session "Supernova Birth: Current Trends of the Russian Labor Market". Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities of SPbU, opened the event with a welcome speech:
"Once a unique event happened at the Youth Forum: Christopher Pissarides, a Nobel Prize Winner in economics specializing in labor market issues, gave a speech. It was his only lecture in Russia. Someone asked Pissarides: "What is the most important quality or competence for young people?" "Adaptability", — he answered. And he was absolutely right. Today we are facing the need to adapt once again. We are conducting this forum to understand how we should act. Here students, largest employers and representatives of government agencies can openly discuss their expectations, needs and opportunities".
Igor Murashev, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Public Service and Personnel Policy of the Governor’s Administration of St. Petersburg and Head of the Evaluation and Personnel Reserves Department, gave some valuable advice to the students:
"What are our observations from the point of view of an employer? Modern graduates have a higher emotional intelligence, but lower literacy, while it is very important to write and speak correctly. So, learn the Russian language! Apart from that, analyze the labor market and find out how much professionals of your level earn, so that you don't get disappointed at the beginning — we often notice that salary expectations of young specialists are too high. Find out the requirements for candidates in your sphere and gain the skills you lack. The key to success is constant change and development".
The discussion was moderated by Maria Dorokhina, SPbU Career Center Director. She noted:
"All events of the Youth Labor Forum are aimed to help the students to identify and find ways to gain the lacking skills, look into the future and sketch out the plan for professional development, extend the network of contacts and become more demanded in the labor market.
Yulia Sakharova, HeadHunter Director for the North-West region and SPbU alumna, shared information on the current situation in the labor market. According to the results of 2022, every 5th vacancy was suitable for candidates without experience. Junior employees are more often required in the category "Sales, Client Service". Young professionals are less often required in the spheres "Security", "Information Technology" and "Science and Education" — here candidates have to put effort to find a job. The top 3 skills recruiters wish to see in young specialists are teamwork skills, good speaking skills and computer literacy.
"It is no coincidence that we see teamwork in the first place — this is a strong trend in today's economy: don't pull the blanket over yourself, be able to work in a team, help and invest in a common goal. St. Petersburg University is known for its unique atmosphere and values it communicates. The experience you are gaining now will be useful for your future work. Make the most of it, and sooner or later you will understand that it will become an advantage for your career. Don't get stuck on something, try different things and improve your soft skills!" — Yulia Sakharova shared her opinion.
The Youth Labor Forum included 15 events in the format of discussions, workshops, and interviews on the following topics: "Career Guide", "Flexible and Meta Skills", "Competences of the Future", "Your Style: Entrepreneurship". The events were moderated by GSOM SPbU faculty members: Anastasia Laskovaya, Academic Director of Bachelor of Management Program, Yuriy Blagov, Director of the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, Evgeny Blagov, Deputy Director for Youth Policy at GSOM SPbU.
As part of the Career Guide events the participants discussed certain professions. For example, they talked about the surfeit of junior programmers and analytics in the labor market.
The discussion "Compliance with ESG Principles: Conscious Decision of Just a Trend" was about one of the promising areas of the labor market of the near future. For example, it was noted that the professional standard of a sustainable development specialist hasn't been created yet. However, while experts continue to discuss the standards, companies adopt ESG strategies and implement projects: introduce "green technologies" and support local communities, improve corporate management and develop inter-industry and inter-sectoral partnerships.
"A sustainable development specialist is, first of all, a manager dealing with strategic decisions, but being just a professional adviser of a company leader is not enough today. Now it's about ESG competences required for successful management: not marketing, but responsible marketing, not finance, but responsible finance, not HR management, but responsible HR management, etc. This is why the Graduate School of Management of SPbU is trying to gradually integrate ESG principles into all educational programs and subjects," — told Yuriy Blagov, Director of the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Students spoke at the forum, too. At the TED-format conference "Going Beyond the Boundaries" Imin Chen, a student of the Graduate School of Management of SPbU, shared his experience of relocation to another country. "Going international: where East meets West" is not just a title of the presentation, but a kind of the young speaker's life credo. Imin Chen participated in various exchange programs and international internships, he lived and studied almost in all large European cities. In his speech, he encouraged not to crave for relocation, but to make a reasonable and balanced decision: for example, he compared the average income and spending level in particular countries. The most harmonious country for Imin Chen is where western mindset and business approach combine with the eastern one.
The Youth Labor Forum was held as part of the 7th Saint Petersburg International Labor Forum organized this year in the mixed format from 16 to 18 March, 2023. The offline part of the forum was held at three venues — Tauride Palace, SPbU and ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Center. The event was organized by the Government of Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg State University and Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States with the support of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Russia and Federal Service for Labour and Employment.