PEACE. LABOUR. MARCH. PETERSBURG
The First International Labour Forum, a largest exhibition and workshop focusing on human capital, commenced its operation on the grounds of the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Valentina Matviyenko, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation opened the plenary session "Labour and Labour Relations in the 21st Century: The Development Trajectory". "We live in an era of dynamic changes, including in the nature of labour relations. Constant evolution has become a norm for the society. The state, in its turn, must proactively and effectively address changes by amending the labour legislation and adjusting the systems of education and social security," noted Mrs. Matviyenko. "For example, introduction of advanced technologies boosts productivity, competitiveness and promotes economic growth. At the same time, many traditional occupations are becoming obsolete leaving professionals unemployed. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clear picture of what professions will be in high demand and what occupations will be driven off the market in the future and plan labour training accordingly." Mrs. Matviyenko also delved into the self-employment and labour migration issues. "One of the immediate objectives is to boost the country's appeal for highly skilled professionals to migrate to Russia. I hope participants of the Forum will support this initiative."
Georgy Poltavchenko, Governor of St. Petersburg, spoke on behalf of the city residents. He noted that the global economy was becoming increasingly anthropocentric. "According to UN, the share of human capital in the national wealth of some countries reaches 80%. Human capital is also the main asset of our state. St. Petersburg is keeping up with the trend. For example, the St. Petersburg Economic and Social Development Strategy 2030 lists the development of human capital as the city’s main strategic objective." The Governor made an observation that the city was one of the first in the country to pioneer social partnerships. "Every year, the executive branch, employers and trade unions sign a tripartite agreement. Pursuant to its provisions, the minimum wage is set at 16,000 roubles for St. Petersburg, for 2017, which is more than twice the amount of the minimum wage across Russia and is 40% higher than the minimum living wage established for St. Petersburg. We also have the lowest unemployment rate in the country (1.6% of the city's economically active population). In 2016, the city set a new record. The total number of people employed in its economy exceeded 3.3 million.
Delivering his contribution report, Nikolai Kropachev, Rector of St. Petersburg State University, talked about training of highly skilled professionals that would be in demand on the modern labour market. "To improve the quality of education, employers and educational institutions, be they vocational schools, colleges or universities, must work hand in hand. Though, at large, the society is responsible for the quality of education, educational institutions must be open to a dialogue." Mr. Kropachev shared St. Petersburg State University's experience in the engagement of employers in the institution's activities. "We can adopt one of the two cooperation models outlined in our legislation. Practicing experts can participate in the development of educational programmes and maintain examination board memberships. Last year, 1,700 employers participated in the activities of examination boards administering national examinations to the University graduates. Working professionals participating in exams provided more than 100 invaluable positive and negative feedbacks as to the quality of the university operation. Today, more than 1,000 employees from different industries contribute to the development of the University’s professional standards. Only practicing professionals can tell what skills graduates should demonstrate today, and what competences will be in demand four to six years from now."
Speaking on behalf of employers, Anatoly Karachinsky, Member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), President of IBS Group of Companies, said, "When we are headhunting, we pay more attention to the set of skills and competencies and less to the name of the profession. It is very good that some professional standards, e.g., in IT, health care and aviation, are now reviewed on annual basis. However, in most cases, it takes two to three years to have an upgraded educational programme approved." Mr. Karachinsky noted that the quality of higher education in our country has substantially improved. However, surveys of entrepreneurs regularly conducted by RUIE show that today the labour market is experiencing a shortage of qualified graduates of vocational schools, e.g., metal workers, turners, welders, etc. "Today our priority is to restore the system of vocational schools. It is necessary to develop professional standards based on best practices in relevant areas and introduce them to the employees of colleges and vocational schools for them to upgrade their educational programmes."
The St. Petersburg International Labour Forum will run for three days, March 15-17. The Event will focus on the key theme—a contemporary employee. This topic will be further expanded by the participants of the "Labour and Labour Relations in the 21st Century" and "The Key Social Development Trends and Evolution of the Labour Market" Conferences. HR trends will be discussed at the facilitation subpanel "Competencies of Managers of the Future." Participants of the "Labour Mobility and Migration" Conference will concentrate on the effects of globalization on labour market. They will also study international human capital development integration projects. The project's program features the "Human Resources. Management. Security 2017" Exhibition.