Professional Fair 2001 proved a hit with
hundreds of young Muscovites looking for help with finding the right career. The event set the stage for meaningful interaction between job seekers needing advice and assistance and the
specialists able to meet their needs. Organizers say the exposition was just the beginning, with a second fair planned for next year.
As prospects for the local market grow thinner, Russian job seekers are finding life increasingly tough; and to make matters worse, professional assistance in finding the right career is limited.
With that problem in mind, the Sokolniki Culture and Exhibition Center and the Bakalavr Educational Center, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Education, staged the Professional Fair 2001 exposition.
Held at the Sokolniki center from April 12-15, the exhibition — in its first year — was staged in conjunction with the fifth annual School 2001 exposition. The event was marketed as an international exposition of higher learning and job placement, catering to students completing high school, as well as those interested in obtaining a second degree or hunting for employment.
More than 50 organizations , ranging from universities and institutes of higher learning to organizations specializing in technological studies, including distance education, postgraduate education and the job market, took part in the exhibition. Among the participants were companies publishing literature on education and vacancies, along with special firms offering assistance and consultation to those embarking on the path to a new career.
Included in the list were representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, specially created divisions manned by psychologists and consultants advising prospective employees and facilitating their placement.
Vladimir Krupochkin, exhibition project manager for Professional Fair 2001, underlined the objectives behind the staging of the exposition.
"Professional Fair 2001 was held with the aim of demonstrating universities and organizations offering job-placement services," he said. "They presented their educational and professionally oriented plans and explained what specialists each institute produces and study opportunities abroad — in short the entire spectrum of education."
Krupochkin said the exhibition came on the eve of entry examinations for universities in Moscow, set to take place in the months of June and July, thus aiding high-school students in deciding on their future careers. He added that Professional Fair 2001 and School 2001 complimented each other, and so were held jointly.
The exhibition offered a variety of seminars and presentations to its visitors. Participants held forums on the state of the job market, higher learning in the 21st century, the technology of job placement and internships in foreign countries.
In light of the problems faced by new entrants into the working world, the fair, strangely enough, was not held with the intention of providing job placement, as Krupochkin went on to say. "The organizations on display do not focus on job placement, but offer advice and guide a person on where and how to search for work, and what is necessary to carry this out."
Nevertheless, several organizations were able to shed light on the current situation in the job market and why making the right career choice poses such a problem. Tatyana Krainova, a psychologist for the Russian Scientific-Practical Center of Professional Orientation and Psychological Support, a division of the Ministry of Labor, feels the problem lies in job seekers rather than the market itself.
Igor Danilenko, representative of the local committee at Moscow State University of AIESEC, an international exchange program, agreed. "The ability to sell one's self is very important," he said, "as well as being clearly oriented toward your career."
Danilenko said lack of knowledge of the job market contributes to the problem, as well as the fact that universities prepare specialists that do not possess some of the skills needed by today’s demanding market.
"The ‘get rich quick’ attitude of youth today is an additional obstacle in the search for a job," said Lyudmila Bukhovetskaya, psychologist and professional consultant for the Perspektiva Moscow Center for Employment and Labor, considering the low wages that are characteristic of the market. In addition, she complained that many employers expect too much from young recruits.
The exhibition left a relatively good impression on visitors and participants alike, and Krupochkin said he was pleased with the overall result. "The exposition showed that there is a high interest in institutes of higher learning, and almost all the participants come to us with words of thanks. ¾"
Figures are sketchy, but organizers estimate that 20,000 people attended the two fairs over the four days, and plans are already under way for next year’s event. Krupochkin said Professional Fair 2002 is expected to have more participants and is scheduled to take place from March 28-31, 2002.