Job-hunting in modern Kazakhstan
27/09/2007, Zhandos Aitymov
After 90s Kazakhstan forces new waves of global tendencies that are taking place in the whole world. The new know-how was implemented almost in all spheres: in economy, education, medicine, culture and technology. Country develops extensively, and new projects were being launched during the last five years. This, of course, requires to have new specialists being enough qualified to work in modern environment.
When we face difficulties or new situations, we are trying to find good examples in the past, how it was before and how we could benefit by understanding these facts now. If we try to look back and compare the current situation to other countries, we can find as good examples Japan and Germany that faced permanent difficulties after Second World War and afterwards countries' reconstruction. Japan as well as Germany was totally destroyed and needed professionals almost in all spheres of economics. First of all, the country solved that problem by intensive influence in education, especially, in its quality, and, second of all, employed workers from abroad. The results are well known by now. These two developed countries achieved incredible success during the short period of time.
In the case of Kazakhstan, after Soviet Union's collapse, when almost all connections with partnering Soviet organizations crushed, the heads of national and private companies started to look for new methods of management, recruitment and working, because old systems did not work out. New independent country has to live in new environment and have an equal dialogue with all other countries using international standards and norms. That is why the necessity of transformation was clearly understandable.
The streams of new information came from the West just after the big collapse. The changes came immediately and touched almost everything; new abbreviations like 'job hunting', 'CV', 'management', 'human resource department', 'IT management' were on the air in the job market industry.
After 90s Kazakhstan develops itself intensively and could be compared with a second Dubai but in Central Asia. Many foreign investors or just businessmen from all over the world were looking for their chances here. But with that fast development the national job market was facing a number of the following problems: the need of people and the lack of professionals. We may say that job market was not yet developed. This fact caused unemployment, especially for young people who were not been able to find a job.
If we look on the job market in detail, we may find out that it is presented by mainly 3-5 popular newspapers, and 2-3 web-sites. We also could name working online sources and count it with a few fingers.
The search result in "Yandex" online engine (www.yandex.ru) show us a list of the most popular ones: "job.extra.kz", "cv.kz", "superjob.kz", "recruitment.kz", "www.k-plus.kz", "www.vippersonal.kz" and some more. But people mainly still are not aware of Internet, and facing Internet access problems. Internet prices are still too high, and majority of people can not afford having Internet even nowadays.
In the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, the most popular newspapers that are in the range of interest of potential job-hunters are "Iz ruk v ruki", "Info-tses", "Kurier", "Gazeta besplatnih obyavlenii". People buy it every week hoping to find a job or just sell and buy, but some readers criticize these newspapers because they find out that the same advertisements are being published all the time.
Another way to find a job is to visit job agencies, which are possible to find almost in every big city. Normally people pay for giving their CVs and for getting a list of job vacancies. In Astana, for instance, people pay from KZT 500 to 5000 to get this information, or sometimes more. Even for money nobody can guarantee that the job position is valid and accessible for the candidate. But heads of agencies are satisfied in any case: they doing their job, being job brokers between companies and people and get paid.
As for international companies that working in Kazakhstan, they are trying to cooperate with job recruitment companies to have access to the national job market. The difference for recruiters is that they get money from the company but not from people.
The "job offers" are divided into several branches, and if we analyze them, we may find out that main requirement is age and experience. The age range should be from 25 till 35 years, and the candidate should have 3-5 years of experience. Some big international organizations are asking for some additional qualifications like leadership potential, ability to analyze and team-working skills.
Many heads of HR departments did not know how to manage the modern business environment. There are many cases when workers, doing additional unpaid work, that is usually illegal, are being pressed by heads of division departments or just bosses. Of course, this creates a negative, unfriendly atmosphere in offices and constant stress at the end.
Kauantay Baizhanov is one of the young people looking for a job. He leaves in rural area 30 kilometers outside of Astana. He has a secondary education behind, diploma of Akmolinsk Financial - Economical College in Astana specialized on taxes. But once graduated he could not find a job in his position and decided to take several additional professional engineering-electronics courses in Akmolinsk Uchkombinat. Only after he could find a job, mainly because of current construction works in Astana, using local newspapers.
He explains that clean office work is usually low paid or hardly accessible. Almost all places are already occupied. The heads of companies are sometimes cheating or terrorizing personnel, and this is also a fact. Another problem is that almost all companies are asking for a work experience that is absolutely impossible to have just after graduation.
Kuantay needs to wake up at 5 a.m. to reach the city. Bad roads, lack of regular transportation are the main problems for him. The rent prices in Astana are too high, and companies normally did not offer accommodation within the city for employees, he himself can not afford it. "I satisfied with the job I have now, but in the future I would like to change it and find something that will be close to my major",- says enthusiastically Kuantay.
People seeking a job should try to use all the ways to find a job, even simple and common one by using familiars working in companies. In the West there is even a stereotype that jobs in many Eastern (ex-Soviet) countries and in Kazakhstan may be "granted" only with the help of familiars and friends.
Moreover, they believe that this fact increases corruption level and decreases effectiveness of work. This stereotype is more than true. With one exemption when using familiar ties is the only way to find that job and to earn money for living. Because of this fact and stereotypes many foreign companies trying to find workers with the help of independent job agencies or do it independently trying to find a person they need using their own criteria and working directly with media resources.
Doubtlessly Kazakhstan has good perspectives. Economics grows positively, average salary increases annually. But without good workers companies and the state will not be able to work in the modern environment. Understanding this Kazakhstan brings up future professionals via using different state programs like "Bolashak", increasing scholarships in the state universities, and opening professional development programs. However, many graduates are facing enormous difficulties at the end looking for a job. The situation differs from town to town, some are luckier then others, but in average it is hard. Because the present job market is not enough developed.
Illustration by job.vl.ru