Top Skills of the Future and How the IT Community is Transforming the Labor Market of Mykolaiv

Notes from the discussion “Mykolaiv. The Labor Market in the City of Shipbuilders”

Author:

“There is one-way traffic: from leaders to the establishment of firms, companies. The oncoming traffic is people who have dreams and want to make them come true. Dreamers and leaders — they need to get connected.” — Serhiy Hvozdiov, a business professor at the Kyiv School of Economics.

 

Since November, VoxUkraine in partnership with local media has been holding 12 online meetings with communities in different cities of Ukraine on important topics of local self-government. The eighth meeting was held with the community of Mykolaiv with the support of the Nikvesti media on the labor market in the city.

We spoke with representatives of the city’s IT community, the regional employment center, and the Kyiv School of Economics about the interaction between business and government institutions, joint social initiatives that transform the city, and the skills of the future.

The participants of the discussion were: Kateryna Senkevych, a co-founder of the Mykolayiv IT-cluster, representative of the women’s IT community in Mykolaiv, Tetyana Izmaylova, a teacher of the business education department at the Kyiv School of Economics, Serhiy Hvozdyov, a business professor at the Kyiv School of Economics, Lyubov Miniaylova, a head of the department of statistics and forecasting at the Mykolaiv regional employment center. The discussion was moderated by the VoxUkraine project leader Yuliia Mincheva

 

Follow the link to watch the discussion recording.  

The main conclusions. In 2020, the status of the unemployed in the Mykolaiv region was received by 13% more people, than in 2019. Some of them had not been working for 15 years before. There are three universities in the city that graduate IT-specialists. But graduates lack practical skills adapted to the companies’ needs. Since 2017, the Mykolaiv IT Сluster public organization offers students and university teachers internships, holds educational events and conferences to share experiences. However, cooperation is not established with the Employment Center, which is a window of opportunity, especially for people over 45 years. After all, they have a right to receive a voucher for retraining from the Center, for example, in the field of IT. An important place among the skills of the future will be occupied not only by emotional intelligence (EQ) but also by the availability of resources to implement own ideas — VQ.

More unemployeds, fewer vacancies. What about employment in Mykolaiv?

With the beginning of quarantine, it was possible to obtain the status of the unemployed from the very moment of applying for it — the relevant legislative changes were adopted at the end of March 2020. According to Lyubov Miniaylova, before the pandemic, people were able to find work for the first 7 days after applying to the Employment Center and did not need status. 

Instead, during the quarantine period, 80% more people received the status of unemployed than in 2019 in the Mykolaiv region, this is due to both legislative changes and, accordingly, the accrual of benefits from the first day, as well as a decrease in the number of vacancies. “Even now, when January is almost over, the number of vacancies is still very poor.” Lyubov Miniaylova says that 20% of applications were from people who had not worked (at least officially) for a long time. “There were people who didn’t work for 20, 13, 15 years.” In total, 56% of applications are from people whose employment contract has expired or who have been dismissed by the agreement of the parties.

 

In the article “COVID-19, quarantine and the job market expectations in urban Ukraine” we wrote about those who are more likely to keep their jobs, who will work from home and will feel more financially protected during the quarantine.

How does the IT community participate in the development of the city and is it still easy to “get into IT”?

The IT community in Mykolaiv is actively involved in helping the city’s labor market, offering jobs and internships in companies. The internships are not only for students but also for teachers. After all, the field of IT is changing rapidly, and these changes need to be actively integrated into the learning process.

Kateryna Senkevych says that there are three universities in the city that graduate IT specialists, but each company needs at least 2-3 months to integrate young graduates into the business. “There is a certain discrepancy between the employer’s request and the experience and skills of the graduates.” Another problem is the retention of already trained personnel in the city.

In 2017, the public organization Mykolaiv IT Сluster was created in Mykolaiv with a focus on the solution of two tasks: the formation of a highly-skilled personnel reserve and the retention of this reserve in the city. The main focus was on educational activities for young professionals and the exchange of experiences. At first, it was offline meetings, from the beginning of quarantine they are online. Since 2019, the conference “MyWebTech” has been held in the city. “In 2019, it was visited by 400 people, it was a great result for us. And in 2020, despite everything that is happening, we held this event online,” says Kateryna Senkevych, noting that it is becoming increasingly difficult “to get into IT”. She believes that the approach of rapid learning, personnel “forging”, which was introduced by the computer academy Krok in the early 2000s, “a kind of vocational school for IT specialists”, is gradually losing its relevance, as large companies have a demand for more qualified personnel. 

Lyubov Miniaylova noted that there are no openings related to the IT field in the Employment Center list of vacancies. “We could financially support a person who would like to go to work in IT, for example, with the help of vouchers. This is especially relevant for people over 45 who want to change their line of work. We at VoxUkraine, find this to be a good opportunity for cooperation between the Center and the IT community of Mykolaiv.

About business education as an engine of self-development

There is a lack of people who are well trained to simply live life. This is what Serhiy Hvozdiov says at the beginning of the conversation about important skills of the future. He adds that the main goal of any education, and MBA programs, in particular, should be the disclosure and development of the inner “self”. “In the MBA program, we have Operational Management-I, Operational Management-II courses, and then specialized ones such as Supply Chain course, etc. But there should be singing, drawing, handicrafts lessons — like a return to simple pleasures and understanding of how broad and interesting life is.” 

Tetyana Izmaylova notes that now it is important not to be afraid to do something new and to try things. If it is not yours, then try more. “It’s bad when a person has been studying for four years, then started working and here comes “oh, it doesn’t seem to be mine, I want to do something else.”

She mentions the importance of the VQ — vital energy, i.e. energy to realize what we come up with, along with the EQ — emotional intelligence. “If you don’t have VQ, nothing will work. You may have an amazing IQ, EQ, but if you have no desire to start it and to do it, then this is the case when there is an abyss between knowledge and desire, and between understanding and realization — a whole ocean!”.

Serhiy Hvozdiov told about the vitality and ability to realize the dream even at the age of 50-60, recalling his classmate who, together with a friend, built a yacht and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. “Everyone has their own yacht, which one wants to make beautiful with their own hands and cross their own Atlantic Ocean.” 

We thank Kyrylo Perevoshchykov, Maria Shpakovska, and Alina Tropynina, the VoxCheck interns, for their help in preparing the article.

This event was organized as part of the ENGAGE Program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact in Ukraine. The contents of this report are solely the responsibility of Pact and its partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.

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