Personnel shift: will the youth make up for the shortage of staff in the production sector and in the Agro-industrial Sectors




youth, employment, blue-collar workers, industry, agro-industrial complex, workforce planning, vocational education


The issue of skilled workers has been debated since 2008—2009 and today it is still relevant. The paper highlights the findings of two sociological studies conducted in the Russian regions with clear sectoral specificity. The studies were based on a questionnaire survey among the students of vocational schools and expert interviews with heads of enterprises, sectoral associations, chambers of commerce and directors of vocational schools. The obtained data help to define a typical student of vocational schools as well as his/her study motivation; what sort of employment students expect to have after the graduation; why enterprises still experience difficulties making up for staff shortage; whether the business community has leant to manage their long-term staffing needs and the vocational school system has started to respond to those needs effectively. The authors show that the career choice is shaped by prospects of a well-paid job and an ability to have an easy access to education and to get professional skills within a short period of time. More than half of students agree with almost all positive statements concerning the blue-collar jobs; at the same time, two-thirds of them are aware that their working conditions might be heavy or unsafe. Though upon graduation most of respondents report to have made the right choice, few hit the fields and industrial workshops. This is caused by law salaries of the young staff and/or the enterprise location and an opportunity to get alternative careers in commerce and services. Short-term planning horizon and low profitability do not allow enterprises to estimate staffing needs and to create a pool of workforce. In turn, it misleads the vocational training system and ‘preserves’ the labor imbalances. Both the young respondents and the experts say that the situation could be improved by conducting more consistent and effective policies to support the production and the Agro-industrial Sectors.