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23 march, 2021

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Russia and the Republic of Korea: experience in supporting and developing of young professionals

An online seminar of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and the Economic, Social, and Labor Council of the Republic of Korea was held recently

Russia and the Republic of Korea: experience in supporting and developing of young professionals

On March 22, participants of the joint online seminar of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and the Economic, Social and Labor Council of the Republic of Korea analyzed successful practices of developing young professionals' key competencies.

“I am convinced that we must invest as much effort as possible in building youth policy, help each other, share experiences and best practices with each other,” said Lydia Mikheeva, President of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. She highly appreciated the potential for cooperation between the Civic Chamber and the Council as key civil society institutions of Russia and Korea

Lydia Mikheeva believes that helping young people realize their enormous potential is crucial: “Young people are a full-fledged actor in public and economic life. That's why we should join forces in this important area. I express our deep hope that today's meeting will serve as the beginning for further dialogue and cooperation in this and other areas, that we will continue to interact in the form of visits, exchanges, conferences and seminars, joint research, and so on”.

Mr. Moon Sung-hyun, the President of the Economic, Social and Labor Council, welcomed the participants to the meeting with the speech where he noted the coronavirus pandemic effects  that have led to stagnation in the economy and a sense of uncertainty about the future.

“Although each country's efforts are crucial for overcoming the crisis, I think that solidarity and cooperation between countries are just as important, considering specifics of the fight against viral infection. Today's event is all the more significant in light of the above,” he stressed.

Moon Sung-hyun pointed out that many young people today feel desperate and disillusioned about the future: the new generation faces a lot of problems today, including lack of jobs, housing, education and life quality gaps, and many others. And with the pandemic, problems only worsened. The Republic of Korea's government developed a package of measures to increase youth employment and strengthen the social safety net. “To this end, 5.9 trillion won (about 39 billion rubles) was allocated, resulting in 1.04 million young people being able to receive material assistance,” the head of the Korean delegation shared.

Among the measures taken, he named support for employers attracting young professionals, encouragement of own businesses and start-ups among young people, training in digital, low-carbon, and environmentally friendly industries.

“Since last August, there has been a constitutional law on youth, which regulates the rights and duties of persons related to youth, establishes the responsibility of the state and municipal authorities to youth, and contains other norms. This law can be seen as a concrete embodiment of society's interest in youth affairs, says Moon Sung-hyun. - There is also community dialogue on the issue. Last summer, the Youth Affairs Committee began its work. It is designed to listen to and speak on behalf of young people - that is, those who are the least socially and economically protected.”

Kim Jong-jin, the Senior fellow at the Korea Institute of Labor and Social Research, described the Korean labor market's peculiarities. He highlighted the freelancers' number rise and the increase to 3.2 percent of the NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) generation's unemployed youth, the multi-layered and heterogeneous nature of the labor market. Among the features of the Republic of Korea's youth workforce policy, he cited digital job creation; regional job creation projects; incentive payments for youth employment; development of a national periodic training system in leading strategic industrial areas; increased support for the career interruption prevention program; empowerment of girls and women; support for job creation for young scientists; an incentive program for youth resettlement to the regions and many others.

Jeong Bo-yeong, the Chairman of the Youth Committee, talked about Gwangju's experience in solving the employment problem: through social dialogue between the administration and Hyundai Motor Company, it was possible to negotiate with workers concessions on wages in exchange for a guarantee of a stable job, housing, and a social guarantees. The Youth Committee suggested replicating the “Gwangju-style workplace” practice throughout the country.

Olga Golyshenkova, the Chairwoman of the Coordinating Council under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on developing communities of young professionals, Chairwoman of the Council, Deputy Chairwoman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation for Economic Development and Corporate Social Responsibility shared the practices her domain has implemented. She noted that the Council consists of various organizations interested in implementing youth policy, and its key partner is the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs and its subordinate Young Professionals Assistance Centre: “Thus, we consolidate all forces of the society. Our most important principle is collegial, collective elaboration of decisions, bills, joint actions, and joint events”.

Olga Golyshenkova identified the key problems of young professionals in the labor market and noted the divergence of employers' and young professionals' expectations.

“Unfortunately, the status of a professional, a specialist, a person who works, is now being questioned among young people. The younger generation does not see the value of creative work for themselves. They want to earn quick money or have an income, preferably passive, and already at a young age to relax, have fun, while the state, large corporations need enlightened, hardworking, educated employees,” the expert shared.

Valeria Chernogorodova, the Consultant of the International Activity Department of the Youth Projects and Programs Administration of Rosmolodezh, reminded that the Year of mutual exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea in 2020 was postponed to the current year because of the pandemic and Rosmolodezh suggested including the Young Leaders Forum between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, which was included into the list of the main events, into the program.

“Within the framework of bilateral exchanges, we try to focus not only on acquaintance with culture and history of the two countries but also to strengthen practice-oriented components, such as exchanges and promotion of contacts between subject specialists from different fields”, - she stressed. The expert named volunteering, youth innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative economy among thematic areas of such exchanges.

Russian employers shared their practices of implementing youth projects with their Korean colleagues. Nikita Rakov, the Deputy Director of “Russian Railways Corporate University” Autonomous Non-profit Organization of Additional Professional Education, said that the company implements a targeted program, “Russian Railways Youth”, which covers all aspects of labor and social life of young people. He stressed that Russian Railways is one of the youngest companies on the market, employing over 300 thousand people under 35, i.e., 38 percent of the total headcount. The program's six main directions include 800 annual events on adaptation, maintaining conditions for continuous and comprehensive development of young people, their involvement in corporate tasks, development of corporate volunteering and promotion of healthy lifestyle values, development of international cooperation, and exchange of experience.

Stanislav Bobryshev, the Deputy Chairman of SIBUR Trade Union Interregional Trade Union Organization, said that all social work at the company is carried out by the trade union, including cultural and sporting events, promotion of healthy lifestyles, health resort and rehabilitation treatment, monitoring of compliance with labor safety requirements, social partnership. Like other employees, young people's social benefits are set out in the collective agreement, which is concluded for three years and provides funding from the employer. Among the benefits for young people, Bobryshev singled out financial aid at marriage and childbirth, reimbursement of daycare expenses, guaranteed workplace upon return from military service, exemption from work for pregnant women from 13 weeks and working in hazardous conditions, etc. The pandemic has imposed restrictions on various events, he said.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, many workers were transferred on shift work, and their families needed help. The trade union and youth representatives helped shift workers' families by buying food and medicines and solving minor everyday problems. In autumn 2020, many workers fell ill with coronavirus, and here we also had to support such workers and their families with buying medicines and food as they had to be on self-isolation,” shared Stanislav Bobryshev.

Summing up the event, Olga Golyshenkova noted that the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea have common contact points regarding professional and social fulfillment of young people in society. Therefore, state support measures for youth, the role of businesses, employers, corporations in providing additional support measures for young professionals, and the partnership between business and the state in building youth policy require deep joint reflection in both countries.

“I propose to hold international events on the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum platform and the Eastern Economic Forum, as well as the Vostok Forum for young professionals, which takes place in Vladivostok. We will be happy to continue discussing these topics with the Republic of Korea Economic, Social and Labor Affairs Council,” she said.

Tags: Lidia Mikheeva, Olga Golyshenkova

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