One of the most painful problems for the majority of Ukrainians today is the search for a job, that meets the two basic requirements: it was not only a pleasure but also a great deal, because air doesn’t fill the belly. And if at the age of 30-40 years, having a good qualification and experience, people feel more or less confident in the labor market, then those, who are closer to retirement, having lost their jobs, usually respond and give up in despair. But young people, on the contrary, unable to settle in Ukraine, go abroad looking for a better life. Meanwhile, according to the State Employment Service, the domestic employer is currently lacking a skilled worker. So, Serhiy Kravchenko, the deputy head of the State Employment Service tells Opinion about the representatives of those qualifications, that are as valuable as gold in the labor market these days, and how should the employer and employee meet and come to terms.
Mr Kravchenko, now in Ukraine, there are a lot of unemployed people, who can not find a job, but on the other hand – there are actually a lot of job openings, but they can not be filled. Why, what do you think?
There are many reasons for this, both subjective and objective. On the one hand, there are really a lot of job openings, that employers can not fill even by offering people a respectable salary. On the other hand, we are faced with the unjustified hopes of people, who go to study, get higher education, and then they can not get a specialty work. The fact is that today the country needs first of all qualified representatives of blue-collar jobs: welders, electricians, plumbers… In fact, the employer needs skilled workers of all professions.
The second important issue, with which Ukraine has been dealing for a long time is overproduction on the market of representatives of certain professions. First of all, it is about those, who get legal and economic education. Today they often can not find specialty work. And even though this information is not a secret – on the contrary, we try to explain this given the chance, young people still choose these qualifications. In addition, entrepreneurs pay attention to a very interesting moment. One of them explained this to me: they say, I need a lawyer on the payroll. I’m taking a student or a young specialist, who has just got a diploma of higher education, he comes, doing anything in practice, I’m teaching him, and then he finds a work in another company, where sells himself for a more expensive price. He makes some kind of mistakes working for me, because he is not ready to work properly right after graduation, and in the end, I bear the loss.
That is, today the level of education does not meet the requirements of the employer. And that is why companies unwillingly employ young professionals without experience. Another gap in the labor market lies in the fact, that skilled workers of the blue-collar job are required on the market, but the number of vocational schools, where they are being trained has recently decreased significantly.
You said, that our universities are training specialists, who do not meet the requirements of the employer. Where to find the solution?
Actually, it’s easy, the main thing is – to screw oneself up and do. And the answer, given the European and world experience of training specialists, has long been known: they usually have the first half of the day to study, and then they have to work somewhere. Let’s say, when it comes to lawyers, there are often special law clinics set up, right at universities, where the students fully work out a certain time.
That is, the theory is firmly in a line with practice. Moreover, this should be simultaneous: in order for a person to somehow be realized in practice, it must know the basics of the theory. Let’s take an example of a journalist: he must first learn how to write, if he does not know how to do it, you can give him a thousand practical tasks, you will not get a positive result.
As an operating journalist, I can say, that this is either a gift of God or not. For example, I have always been annoyed, when people, who tried to be a journalist were not able to bear out in practice of their profession.
I believe, that this is the case in journalism, but if the third year student of a law school is not able to read, then what can you say about his later work as a lawyer? Some young people still get their diplomas, because their parents want it. Here we return to vocational guidance at school, in general, to a professional approach in choosing both the profession and the employees. The State Employment Service is also working in this direction. Let’s say, last year we released vocational guidance videos, that quickly gained popularity. But a lot of parents do not understand, what this career guidance is for if they have decided, that their child will be a lawyer. But the fact, that he simply can not become a lawyer, because his heart isn’t in it, no one usually takes into account.
Maybe he has a call to the exact sciences and he wants to become a mathematician, physicist or engineer? Instead, parents are convinced, that to be a lawyer is the best, because it is prestigious. They could see one good movie, in which the hero is a very successful lawyer. But this is only a beautiful picture, but the fact, what is hidden behind this picture, in the profession itself, what are the demands to it, how much this person has to work before he becomes a successful lawyer, nobody cares.
In the summer, specialists from the State Employment Service stated, that for the first time in many years the situation on the labor market has somewhat stabilized. How this stabilization appeared and did it hold up until the autumn?
I may repeat myself, but I would note, that there was and there is a lack of drivers, seamstresses, electricians, plumbers, welders, millers on the labor market. You won’t believe it, but now Ukraine needs a lot of cooks. I can give an example. In Kyiv, there is a company, that has been looking for fifty drivers for three months already. The salary, which they offer, without any taxes, is 11 thousand 800 hryvnias. Of course, there are appropriate requirements: to have additional categories, to work out a certain time, and so on. But they can not find the workers…
So it turns out, that stabilization is in the tendencies?
If we take into account the overproduction of certain specialists, then one may say so. Lawyers and economists have been overwhelming for more than one year. But there is a lack of teachers today even in Kyiv. As well as doctors. And the lack of doctors is not only in the capital but also throughout the country. I know the real example: in the Cherkasy region they are looking for an otolaryngologist for one and a half years, and can not find. Particularly, difficult situation is with doctors in distance from the center, small areas.
Probably, its role is played by the problem of housing lack for these people, because you will not be able to rent it for a medical salary…
You know, now, due to the development of united territorial communities, for many doctors are offered not only good working conditions but also a roof over their heads. It is in small regions, where medical facilities are being opened, where workers are provided not only with work but also with a house. But people are not in a hurry.
Do you cooperate with the Ministry of Education and Science in updating the market of graduates and labor market needs?
Of course, the Ministry of Education knows this problem. But, as for me, there should be a general integrated approach to the problem of training and retraining of employees in general. I’ll explain: for example, we needed a very large number of lathe operators. At present, quantitative volumes are much smaller, but their level of training should be different: the employer needs very high-quality specialists. So, we are obliged to inform the Ministry of Education as to the number of personnel currently in need of the domestic labor market and their qualifications.
And what, do they react to such information?
At least they try, develop certain changes, regulatory documents, modernize programs, which are used by vocational and technical educational institutions. That question is not only about the activities of the Ministry of Education and Science. Now it is necessary to take into account the fact, that the blue-collar occupations are unpopular in the society itself. For some reason, people are convinced, that if you have a lawyer diploma, then you’re already successful. But this is not true. There are many examples of successful people working as blue-collars. I recently met a man, who works as a welder and earns 28 thousand hryvnias a month.
Show me a lawyer, who can easily earn such amount of money. Of course, this welder already has the sixth category, works for 10 years, constantly improves. But he has a good salary for a man with a technical occupation. By the way, abroad, in the same Austria or Germany, blue-collar jobs are constantly promoted. Moreover, they do this at the state level: in schools, in various state institutions.
Do you think, that such an experience would be useful for us?
No way around it. Society is developing so rapidly and dynamically, that production is very important. If, for example, it used 70 operators to make a particular item, then today there are only four people, who will manage modern machines. So without the popularization of such professions, we will have a lot of problems.
Skilled specialities – this is primarily a vocational college, and for them, as you know, in recent years, it is very difficult to survive, not that educate someone. Yes, and the Ministry of Education is able to cope with all the problems…
Colleges on the issue of training, if they want to graduate competitive specialists, need to work more closely with entrepreneurs. Today, our businessmen are ready to import new equipment, which costs a lot of money, but they do not have the skilled personnel needed to start this equipment. For example, if the machine costs one and a half million Swiss francs, and it is broken by a person who only learns, then this is quite a lot of damage.
That is why the colleges should cooperate with employers, preparing specialists for them. Today there are quite a lot of complex automated systems that simplify and speed up the production process itself. Qualified workers must operate these systems.
One of the tasks of our service now – to solve the problem of hunting the skilled workers by employers. In the SES, special centers of vocational education were created, where we retrain the adult population into other professions. But our capacities, given the real demand in the labor market, are not enough to close its needs. For example, nowadays there is a very high demand for sellers. But now the Internet is growing very much, and the question is, and whether we will need this amount of sellers as we have today, let’s say, in 5 years?
Indeed, the tendency is very obvious, but the grocery segment must remain…
Recently, the self-service cash desk has become popular. However, nowadays, large retail chains throughout Ukraine need more than three and a half thousand cashiers-sellers. But in any case, we should carefully analyze which professions will remain, and which will eventually disappear.
Have your specialists analyzed which professions may disappear in the near future? And which, in contrast, will not only remain but also be in demand?
For now, there is no such a forecast. We are working today to create a general forecast of the labor market. But this is a rather complicated issue, so now we are cooperating with various international organizations, studying their experience.
And when is it expected?
Today, the working group is working on the solution to this problem. And although we started this work back in 2015, this is a very complicated issue, so it’s too early to talk about specific terms. First of all, you need to decide on the most effective methodology for counting. Particularly, we are interested in Sweden’s experience, but there are slightly different approaches, more open employers.
What kind of qualification can a person get in those centres, that work on the basis of SES?
Anyone who really wants to find work today will find it. Even people with higher education come to the centres of vocational education. Anyone can become a seamstress or get any other qualification. Moreover, this information on our website is completely open, you can check it yourself.
It’s somehow hard to imagine that an economist or lawyer would go and retrain to become a seamstress…
There is no lack of cases when people go and retrain to get exactly blue-collar jobs. For example, a nail artist or a hairdresser. I do not think it’s something extraordinary. In adulthood, people are better guided by what their souls are in. And when the 16-17-year-old enrols in a higher educational institution, and even at the parents’ request, they do not always make this step consciously. Believe me, there were people, who came to our centers at the age of 45, and having the higher economic education had a desire to take the courses of the cashier-seller.
And in order to work as a cashier-seller, having a higher education in economics, people need to be further retrained?
Well, they came and decided to get a blue-collar qualification, why not?
The problem of imbalance between the needs of the labor market and the graduation of specialists by educational institutions arose with the Soviet Union collapse. During this time, many recipes have been offered to come out of the crisis, but until now the situation has not changed much. Do you have a recipe for solving the problem? Or perhaps there is some foreign experience that you can use here?
In fact, the recipe is very simple here: when the database of the All-Ukrainian personnel reserve will work in the country, when every person will be able to enter this website and see what salary she can have in a particular segment, sector or branch of economy, then it seems to me, that it will be a serious mover for training or retraining, as well as for getting blue-collar qualifications.
The problem is also found in employers and employees themselves. Employers often say to me, that they ask their people to upgrade their qualification, gain additional skills and competencies. But there is a part of the workers, who are simply satisfied with what they have today, and they are not going to get new skills, to go for some kind of retraining. And our economy, and above all the economy all over the world, dictates its rules, do you understand? And any employer is a business owner, who is guided by certain economic laws, right? And he needs skilled workers to develop a business.
Therefore, I can say, that there is no general recipe in any country. And abroad, starting from Poland and ending with Britain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, today there is also a need for blue-collars. Only in Japan, there is no such a load.
In the United States, the problem is solved in its own way. For example, Donald Trump has forbidden command the services of migrant. He said, that the work should be done by Americans. Do you know how many employers, in particular farmers, have responded? They simply redesigned their production, with maximum automation. And in the United States, after that, there was a further downsizing of the workforce.
If the employer really wants the employee to improve his qualifications, he usually pays his courses, otherwise, it’s just talking…
Those employers, that I know in person, and we are talking about production, paying for their employees, who are willing to do it. The only industry in Ukraine that does not do this is medical care because private clinics do not want to pay for their qualified doctors, as these doctors thus increase their value in the labor market, and then can go to work to another company or even to go to another country. Therefore, each doctor pays for himself. And there is a need to take advanced training courses there, except with different interval, someone every two, and someone – every five years.
The idea of creating a personnel reserve database is interesting. When can such a base start work?
So far, it is about the idea of creating a base, that would enable each entrepreneur and every employee, who wants to find a job or looks for it hypothetically to find each other. That is, employers will be able to make their data in this database, their employees – their own, and the portal itself should reflect the actual situation on the day it is viewed. For example, the level of payment for journalists is changing now. What are people hoping for? Why in Odesa, for example, it costs 10 thousand hryvnias, and in Kyiv – 25 thousand?
That is, a person can find exactly such things right there, without having to study dozens of websites separately and to find work in any part of the country. Let’s say, in the United States and in Europe, internal labor migration is now well developed. There you can go to Chicago, Utah, or any other state and find work there. Moreover, the state even creates conditions for this.
Internal labor migration – is not for our people, they have another mentality, and they are more homebound…
In the United States, many may be homebound, but there’s even a whole system of trailer parking for these trailers where such people live. But in any case, its conditions are dictated by the economic situation. So, we are unlikely to go from Kyiv, let’s say, to Khmelnytskyi, where we will earn 8 thousand, 5 thousand of which we will have to spend on housing.
When can we have a personnel reserve database and if someone has already counted how much money is needed for this?
I hope, that this would be very useful for the majority of the population of Ukraine. But while its creation is at the level of the idea, so no one has counted the financing yet.
How many unemployed people are registered in Ukraine in general, in each of the regions in particular?
At the beginning of the autumn, there were 293 thousand people, and in October, a little less, 287 thousand. Last year there were just over 300 thousand unemployed. In previous years, we even had a larger number of those, who were registered at the employment service. In fact, it is usually in October-November, that the smallest number of unemployed is registered – people find jobs in Autumn. And we have the largest number at the beginning of March: last year at that time 439 thousand people were looking for work, this year – 384 thousand.
As for vacancies, on the contrary, this year we have the greatest number of them. Moreover, the highest rate was at the beginning of September, when we had 100.3 thousand vacancies. At the beginning of October, we have filled a part of them, and now we have 96,9 thousand free workplaces in Ukraine.
If we take into account the geography of unemployment, then 8 336 people, who are looking for work are registered at the employment centers in Kyiv at this time. The largest number of registered unemployed is in the Dnipropetrovsk region – almost 23 thousand people. A lot of them are in the Kharkiv region – almost 19 thousand. There are 16 663 people in Zaporizhia region, 15 thousand 147 people in Vinnytsia region, 14 thousand in Poltava region, 13 957 in Zhytomyr region. And 11 141 in Kyiv oblast, a little less.
The biggest amount of vacancies, of course, is in Kiev – 12,595. Plus, there are still almost 7,000 – in the metropolitan area. We have 10.5 thousand vacancies in the Lviv region, more than 7,600 – in Dnipropetrovsk region, 5,273 – in the Odessa region, almost the same number in the Kharkiv region and almost 4 thousand – in the Kirovograd region. In other regions, the number of jobs is slightly smaller and varies in the range of 2-3 thousand.
To what extent do these figures reflect the real situation with unemployment in Ukraine? Why do not the rest of the people apply for help at the employment centers? Do not believe that it will help?
It is clear that in fact, the amount of those, who are looking for work is bigger. Because in our society there is a part of people, who are just used to look for work without the help of employment centers. Instead, we have developed recommendations for people, who like to look for work on their own. They can be found and used on our website. In addition, at one time I had a question about how to look for work in general. And we have made a single approach to finding a job, and now for our unemployed, we are reading a seminar on this topic. Even a series of cartoons with the support of our partners has been created to help.
Okay, if you’re curious, watch the video on “Youtube”, on how a hypothetical unemployed Stepan Ovalchenko was helped to find his place in the labor market. The State Employment Service collaborates with the “Prometheus” online courses, and any person with higher education who is registered at our center for a job search may also get additional skills with their help. Moreover, courses can be taken both on computers in employment centers, and independently at home.
Those people, who are traditionally looking for work themselves, of course, find it. But by turning to the employment service, you can do it faster. However, many people think for some reason, that if they turn to the employment service, they can be taken away to the ATO, and do not come because of this.
And can they?
Well, come on, the employment office is not a military recruiting station! Of course, we cooperate with the same military recruiting station, helping them to find military officers under the contract. We also look for workers for the police …
But the same military recruiting station or even the Ministry of Defense can send you a request, to find out if there is anyone among your unemployed men, who have been sent a summons, but they for some reason ignore it.
If they make a request, that they are looking for someone who is registered in or center, and he has been sent a summons, but he has not appeared in the military recruiting station, then we are obliged to inform them. This is determined by law. We respond to requests not only from the Ministry of Defense, but also from any other government agency, that sends us such a request.
What percentage of people, who seek help at the employment centers find work exactly with their help?
Most of them definitely found. In terms of numbers, it is more than 80% of those, who apply to employment centers.
By the way, and the employment service itself has a shortage of personnel?
We have no problems with personnel.
It’s in the central office. What about the situation on the ground?
As a rule, we quickly find ourselves, employees, everywhere. And up-to-date, in none of these areas, there is such a sharp problem with staff in the employment centers.
But if the Employment Service has a vacancy, what algorithm do you fill it with?
We usually look for among our unemployed. And how else should we look for them?
Today the search algorithm among friends and acquaintances is also popular…
Mostly, especially in big cities, we precisely find them among the unemployed. By the way, and among unemployed friends too… Earlier, if you remember, we had problems with banks, where a wave of reduction has passed? So, a lot of those employees, who worked in banks before, then came to work in the employment service.
Which job hunting algorithm is currently the most effective? Which employee search algorithm is the most effective?
Search. And the will to work. As for the employer, I will give an example. We have a “Veko” company that manufactures furniture. Its head says: give me just those people, who want to work. I answer: these same people must have certain skills, competencies. And he answers: I’ll teach everyone, the most important thing, is their desire to work.
Text by Larysa Vyshynska