RUSSIA STARTS IMPORTING “GOLDEN HEADS”


20.09.06

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Alexander Yurov)

According to the official statistics, some 50,000 jobseekers annually leave Russia, but the International Labor Organization says more than 500,000 Russians have immigrated since the reforms began.
Russia has long been an exporter of “good brains.” However, few people are aware that a large number of highly qualified professional foreigners come to work in Russia. Russia is both a supplier of human resources and an importer of “golden heads.” The country is also more firmly establishing its presence on the executive search market.
An international conference on the globalization of the recruitment market has just finished in St. Petersburg. HR experts from across Europe discussed labor market problems and found that vacancies for heads of local offices of global corporations are the most popular in Russia. However, foreigners are also invited to head separate branches of international companies and as independent directors to supervisory boards of Russian companies.
The globalization of the labor market not only manifests itself in the removal of barriers to employment in other countries. After entering a foreign market, international companies seek to adapt their businesses to the local environment. Russia is not an exception, and local professionals are invited to work for international companies with roots in Russia. Russians are also employed abroad. A large mining company active in Australia, Canada and Chile, has lately launched a search for Russian candidates to fill vacancies in South Africa.
The borders on the market of top managers and high-level experts are also becoming more vague, says Yulia Nikitina, a managing partner with the Boyden international HR agency. However, it is mostly multinational companies that attract foreign managers. And in such companies a manager is always international. As soon as his experience and skills comply with certain corporate standards, he or she can be transferred to any department of the company abroad that may require his services. Russian managers who have lately gained experience of reorganizing and establishing new businesses at home and introducing new products and technologies on the market are often required in other developing economies. For example, a chief engineer from a St. Petersburg-based company was recently invited to head a factory in Europe, Nikitina said.
However, multinational companies are not the sole contributors to the globalization of the labor market. Russian enterprises also seek to attract highly qualified professionals from abroad. Financial companies have been quite successful in this area. They have traditionally borrowed on western management and recruitment experience, and English is often spoken in Russian offices now. Today, foreigners almost everywhere control departments handling management of foreign customers’ assets. Many foreign analysts and brokers are also employed in Russia.
The reasons why Russian entrepreneurs prefer employing foreign staff are easy to explain. This is a professional necessity, rather than fashion. A businessman who has been trained in the West is disciplined, professional and predictable. Almost every such professional is an expert in a certain narrow business sphere. These qualities are quite rare in Russia.
In addition, the heads of Russian companies often regard foreign specialists as instructors to train Russian staff. Under the guidance of an experienced foreign manager local stuff can be trained to become high-class professionals within two to three years. This is perhaps why some ambitious Russian companies even have foreign HR managers.
Russians are also wanted on the global labor market. When a foreign HR manager chooses a Russian professional among other candidates, he does so because most of them share certain valuable features. Russians’ adaptability, flexibility, talent, team spirit and academic knowledge are appreciated in the world. Russian people are almost always more proactive than their foreign counterparts, though, unfortunately, less predictable and disciplined.-0-