Proposals for improving the availability of qualified personnel at the meeting of the AEB HR-committee

07.04.2016

The Association of European Business held the meeting of the HR-committee on 29 March 2016 at which business representatives discussed the problems of personnel availability in Belarus and developed proposals to solve them.

These proposals will be promoted in the government as a representative of the AEB is included in the working group to improve the availability of qualified personnel under the Advisory Council on Foreign Investment under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus for 2016.

During the meeting, participants discussed cooperation of foreign investors with the education system of the Republic of Belarus and ways to improve this cooperation, the staffing requirements of foreign investors, increasing competence level of the teaching staff and the faculty of educational institutions, as well as the involvement of foreign experts in the educational process.

Maryna Barouka, Deputy Chairman of the AEB, spoke about the CSR-initiative of the Association – Job Shadow Days which are held by the AEB staff for the fourth time.

- Job Shadow Days don’t pursue only recruiting goals. The global objective is to bring education and business together. The local goal is the motivation of staff and students, as well as a social PR for participating companies, - Maryna Barouka said.

Alexander Shalaika, General Manager of Office Solutions, shared his experience of participation in Job Shadow Days:

- We wanted to help students to understand whether they wanted to continue working in this direction, or they needed to move a little in another direction within their specialty. It was also interesting to know what was going on in our industry in higher education: we tried to find out from students what ideas were discussed at universities.

Maryna Barouka is sure that the positive experience of the action Job Shadow Days affords ground to expand it to a national scale promoting at the highest state level. Moreover, there are not many opportunities for companies to select students in Belarus. Vidmantas Verbickas, Commercial Attaché of the Embassy of Lithuania in Belarus, said that, for example, the Kaunas University holds a career day for 7000 students, and Lithuania is implementing a program to attract the Lithuanians educated abroad to businesses.

Among the problems of foreign companies in Belarus in the field of staff the committee participants noted the following:

  • Young professionals do not meet the requirements of foreign companies in the level of knowledge of the English language. The universities reduced the number of hours of learning English, in addition, teachers are not motivated and do not possess new tools and learning methods.
  • There is a lack of specialists in logistics, engineers, installers, builders, architects, specialists in small and renewable energy.
  • The most acute issue concerns the deficit of specialists in regions where investors put up direct investments in the woodworking, as well as they would like to invest in small and renewable energy. Such companies need specialists, who can work on complex equipment and learn from foreign experts (which requires the knowledge of the English language).
  • Foreign companies mentioned the new wave of protection of national personnel market, expressed in a significant reduction in issuing work permits to expatriates. For example, if in 2014 382 Lithuanian citizens were invited to Belarus as top managers, then in 2015 their number was halved and did not exceed 190 experts.
  • Investors mention also the problem of the physical immobility of young professionals, primarily of regional universities which prepare students in agricultural and allied professions. To promote the Belarusian agriculture products for export, as well as to work with foreign investors, there is a need of not just specialists-agrarians, but young employees who know the English language and marketing. However, most of the graduates of agricultural universities are working in the region in their specialty, feeling the fear, uncertainty and lack of competitiveness without the knowledge of English. A striking example is the experience of the company Syngenta, which for several years financed and implemented the project «Academy of Syngenta» - the program of cooperation of Syngenta with the leading agricultural educational institutions of the Republic of Belarus in the field of training prospective specialists. As a result, only one student of the participants in the educational program decided to move to Minsk.
  • One of the most difficult things to bring theory and practice in higher education institutions together is the possibility of legal registration of practical specialists to teach periodically at universities, and for companies providing such an expert – to have a guaranteed benefit.

All the proposals made during the meeting of the HR-committee, will be further developed, accumulated in a single list and sent to the working group to improve the availability of qualified personnel under the Advisory Council on Foreign Investment under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.

We invite foreign companies who wish to take part in the HR-committee and influence the personnel policy in the country to become a member of the Association of European Business.