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European Commission: 82% of young people are not ready for a “digital” future in the labor market

According to the European Commission's study “The future of work and youth”*, published a week ago, in the near future we will face the situation, when 90% of professions will need skills in working with digital technologies, while 82% of young people say they are not ready for this. “After graduation, experience in the specialty and necessary skills of newly minted specialists are absent in 90% of cases, but the world is changing so quickly that it’s very difficult to find ready-made specialists. It makes more sense to invest in their own education,” says Irina Mirochnik, President of the international company IMMER Group.

What skills are needed to get a good job? According to a study by the European Commission, very soon neither a banking officer nor a farmer will be able to do without skills in working with digital technologies. At the same time, 82% of the young people surveyed (of which 86% of the women surveyed) answered that, although they are representatives of the 'digital' generation, their skills do not meet the requirements of the time. Engineers, for example, will need to be able to develop climate-resilient building projects and even entire cities, because natural disasters caused by climate change are already causing annual losses of 250-300 billion US dollars *. Such specialists are not enough today, because in a global economy, a catastrophe in one country affects consumers and the labor market of a number of other countries. No less relevant are creativity and the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Thus, according to the forecasts of the European Commission, thanks to the automation of processes, daily routine and monotony will disappear forever from working days. 

Experience is no longer important. In today's dynamic environment, employers should switch from searching for “ready”, experienced professionals to employee training. This is due, firstly, to the fact that any industry is changing very rapidly now: 30 years ago we could not imagine our life without a landline phone (who uses it today?), 20 years ago we could not imagine work without a huge computing center (what now?), and 10 years ago it was still impossible to imagine the specialty “social network manager”. Secondly, young people, as a rule, do not have experience in the area in which they have received a specialty. “According to the Eurostudent VI** study, the share of working students is growing steadily – 10 years ago 32% of students combined work and study, four years later – already 36%, and in the last study it was found that almost half are working – 49%. Moreover, in most cases this is unskilled labor,” says Irina Mirochnik. 

The competitive advantage of youth in sociability, willingness to break stereotypes and that they do not recognize the authorities. The most important thing in hiring is curiosity and willingness to learn, enthusiasm and "burning eyes." “We noticed that with the arrival of young people in the team, older employees will learn a lot of new things, get energized. The competitive advantage of young people is that they are sociable, and yet communication today is a truly effective source of learning. Changes in the school system in Europe are aimed at creating opportunities for free communication and knowledge of the world around us as a team. This trend must take into account and employers. Another advantage of young professionals – a fresh look. They are ready to break stereotypes and often offer innovative solutions to long-standing problems. Finally, young people do not recognize the classical subordination, which means that they openly talk about what they disagree with and what is not working well enough. It really helps business development,” says the President of the IMMER Group.

The future is for companies that train their employees. According to the European Commission, classical education lags behind the requirements of the modern world, and non-formal education, including training conducted by companies, on the contrary, is gaining popularity because it provides practical skills. “We are ready to 'babysit' with young specialists, because we know that we will get a positive result at the output. Investments never give quick returns. Take, for example, a recent excursion for students studying printing in Rīgas Valsts tehnikums. We gladly showed them the production, because we hope that in the future one of them will become part of our team,” says Irina Mirochnik. – It is very important to share experiences! In Ukraine, for example, we begin the selection of young people for engineering positions at the second and third years of specialized departments of universities and gradually grow thinking specialists from them, making it possible to put knowledge into practice. But the working professions, unfortunately, are becoming a big personnel problem both there and in Latvia, since the prestige of the technical schools is very low. The Eurostudent VI study demonstrates** that only 13% of students study at technical colleges, whereas undergraduate programs – 59%, and at magistracy – 21%. As a result, we are already facing a shortage of personnel, which is why we often train workers in specialties from scratch, as was the case at Ventspils three years ago. In the Latvian production, for example, there is one technical position, to find an employee for whom it is extremely difficult: there are no similar specialists in other companies in Ventspils”.