Employees№ 3 December 2017

Larisa Lapidus, Director of the Centre for Social and Economic Innovation at the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University, notes that we are already living in the age of the digital economy. “Online technologies have bridged many gaps: between sellers and buyers through e-commerce, students and lecture theatres of international universities through online education, doctors and patients through telemedicine, employers and employees through remote work, and producers and consumers through additive manufacturing. The Internet of Things has provided companies with tools for instantaneous and reliable data gathering on the state of their production processes”, she notes.

In the modern world, the digital workforce, referring to people who have adapted to new work conditions, is a strategic asset. “A shortage in the digital workforce inevitably leads to a slow-down in the growth of both the digital economy and a country’s economy as a whole,” observes the Digital/McKinsey report Digital Russia: A New Reality. However, the innovation cycle is shrinking. In this reality, basic knowledge is no longer enough to build a successful career. According to Ekaterina Morozova, Director of the Open University of the Skolkovo Foundation, thanks to digital innovation, education has become more accessible. “Today you can acquire unique skills through online courses. You can learn a lot for free,” she comments.

Job seekers literally have no limitations: Grigory Finkelstein, a partner at ECOPSY Consulting, believes that nowadays, employers are not interested in the universities that applicants attended. Instead, they look for all the necessary competencies. However, he adds, there is always an exception: educational institutions with industry-driven departments or joint programmes.

The Amazon warehouse, where operations are fully robotic

There are more and more of these programmes, because businesses are interested in employing these new kinds of specialists. The programmes are an efficient way of preparing graduates to be ready for the specific criteria of companies in many industries, from IT to heavy industry.

For example, Metalloinvest is expanding its partnerships with leading educational institutions and experts. The Company has joined up with the Stary Oskol branch of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS, which has recently launched a new programme for mining engineers. Commenting on the partnership, Oleg Mikhailov, Managing Director of Lebedinsky GOK (part of Metalloinvest), said: “First of all, this will allow us to educate future mining engineers at our enterprise, and secondly, we will be able to choose the best of the best specialists and, as a result, gain a competitive advantage over other mining companies.”

"The demand of companies for new skills is always associated with new technologies permeating the production process. If transformations gain mass interest, and the education system does not have time to restructure, then the ‘labour hunger’ manifests itself in the labour market, which is a deterrent in launching the reforms. Based on this, it can be argued that the next 5-10 years in Russia will see an increase in the demand for specialists in Industry 4.0 technologies. For example, specialists in working with cloud systems, machine learning, Agile, VR / AR / Mix VR, artificial intelligence (AI).
Currently, a similar situation is ongoing with specialists in machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data, the demand for which grew by 10, 8 and 5 times respectively only from January 2016 to September 2017, according to Career.ru.
It is also worth noting the positive dynamics in terms of the salaries for such specialists: in machine learning, the salaries are between 109 and 133 thousand roubles, in artificial intelligence they range from 81 to 102 thousand roubles, and in big data from 97 to 142 thousand roubles."

Larisa Lapidus

Director of the Centre for Social and Economic Innovation of the Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Director of the ‘Digital Economy: Innovative Solutions for Business’ and ‘Digital Economy: New opportunities for professional growth’ programmes

The results of using new technologies at Metalloinvest enterprises are already noticeable. According to Igor Gurkov, even the very appearance of industrial facilities has changed. “Industrial facilities today look different: they are clean, and people seem more collected and friendly,” he explains. But he believes that the best is yet to come.

In 2016, Metalloinvest started implementing a comprehensive business transformation programme entitled Industry 4.0. Given the scale of the initiative, CEO Andrey Varichev is overseeing proceedings. “These are complex measures aimed at transforming all business processes, and digitalising and automating production, as well as centralising operations and reducing costs,” he explains.

An integrated financial and economic management system for all enterprises, created using the SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (or SAP S/4HANA), will be the main tool driving these changes. During the past year, a team of over 700 people has been working on designing the system, drawing on global best practice. The system is scheduled to be completed by 2019. This innovation will affect every employee of the Company.

“The ‘hackathon’ is, first and foremost, a competition organised for the solution of a specific task that has a time limit. It cannot be a permanent tool for staff motivation or a universal way of recruiting staff. However, it is quite possible to find and attract a qualified specialist who took part in the hackathon to a certain position. In many countries, large IT companies use hackathons as an introductory test. This mechanism is effective in finding experts in the advertising, consulting, design and other areas that require a creative approach. Large industrial enterprises use this method of searching for employees mainly in the field of industrial design or when developing new products and services. Here, competitive teams can show their creative abilities and talents in order to develop a concept for the realisation of an idea.”

Elena Borovkova

Director of the HR and Organisational Development Department of the ‘Business Profile’ Audit and Consulting Group

According to experts, new technologies are changing the very ideology of work. Grigory Finkelstein says that if previously work was driven by the idea of meeting specific goals at any cost, today, compliance with rules, discipline and occupational health and safety, as well as increasing efficiency and productivity, come first. At the same time, if previously staff were expected to perform a set of clearly defined tasks, today more and more employers want to see innovative solutions. And this is not accidental. Essentially, machines relieve people of mundane work, giving us more time and energy for creativity.

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