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Global recruitment company, ManpowerGroup, has called for an improved alignment between the skills taught by Russia's education system and those required by business, in order to unleash the country's human potential and drive economic growth.
Felix Kugel, ManpowerGroup Vice President and Managing Director, Russia and Region, led a session at the WEF Moscow Meeting, titled "Education and Skills: Investing in Talent-based Growth", which explored how Russia can develop its human capital and provide employers with the skills needed to foster productivity and innovation.
A recent report by the American Enterprise Institute, "Addressing Russia's Mounting Human Resources Crisis", highlighted that Russia's population has declined in the past 20 years. Compounding this demographic shift is a fundamental mismatch between the skills the country's education system offers and those required by domestic labour markets.
Mr Kugel said: "There is need for increased access to skills-based education, because at present the required skills are not being taught for the available jobs. Students and employers agree that graduates entering the workforce are unprepared as business has changed and education has failed to evolve with it. This must be rectified in order for Russia to unleash the human potential in its midst and be competitive on the world stage."
ManpowerGroup recommended that, in addition to closer collaboration between business and education to harness available talent, there needs to be a focus on vocational training and bringing honour back to skilled trades. Russia's university population has tripled since 1995, while the number of vocational graduates has remained flat.
Mr Kugel added: "This is a worrying trend because Russia needs skilled plumbers, electricians and welders rather than a proliferation of liberal arts graduates. These jobs no longer seem to be valued, and there needs to be a collective mind-set shift in how society views skilled trades. It is also no coincidence that the countries most committed to apprenticeships have the lowest rates of youth unemployment."