Willingness to Job Change

For the last 5 years every 4th Belarusian citizen has changed his job
The Americans believe: in order to preserve zest for life, one should change one’s job every 5-6 years. Allegedly, in a new environment one starts working with a doubled commitment. A fresh unbiased look of a new person may do more good to the business than a vast experience of his colleague who has worked there more than ten years and whose actions have been reduced to automatism. Where there is no creativity, there is no business success.

In Belarus for the last 5 years, according to the data of the national sociological monitoring carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 25 per cent of employed population have changed their jobs. By the way, nowadays only 29.9 per cent of population are afraid of being dismissed. Five years ago the rate stood at 37 per cent. Gradually we are adopting the western tradition, while some years ago it was common practice to make a career with no change of employer. A considerable length of service with one employer was perceived to be an advantage. Employees having worked more than 15 years had special privileges: percentage plus for prolonged meritorious service, higher bonus rate and the thirteenth salary, as well as housing privileges. And such an enterprise would be considered sustainable as there was no fluctuation of personnel.

However this was characteristic of not only our country. Many Japanese companies still hire staff once a year — in spring when young specialists graduate from secondary and higher educational institutions. Every third Japanese, once hired, leaves his enterprise only when retiring at the age of 55. However, even the Japanese companies have recently departed from the tradition of life-long employment, but, actually, only in respect of management and technical engineer personnel, taking after the USA where occupational mobility is encourages. The engineer that has worked in four different companies during 20 years is valued by employers more than the one who has worked all these years at one and the same enterprise in one and the same capacity.

However most Belarusians are afraid of going off the beaten track. In 2005 only 8 per cent of employed population responded that they are determined to change their job. The main reason mentioned in this respect was low salary (74 per cent). And arduous working conditions or, say, conflicts with other staff or the managers were mentioned as secondary reasons by only 25 per cent of employees. The long and the short of it, the job that pays is more important than the job that appeals...

— About one forth of employed population would like to find another job, but don’t take any action for that and 52 per cent are not going to change their job, — says sector director of the Institute of Sociology, professor Galina Sokolova. — On the one hand, most of them are satisfied with their job (54.7 per cent), on the other hand they do not see any way of finding an occupational job (60 per cent).

Indeed, there are not so many workplaces to change them like gloves. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the supply of specialists in many professions is ten times higher than the employers’ demand. For example, there are 1,704 specialists for 20 vacancies of a technology technician, 831 candidates for 59 vacancies of a goods manager and the unemployed pedagogues 20 times exceed the vacancies available for them. On the other hand, electric welders, house painters, carpenters and electricians can change their employer every year — the job vacancies are twice as many as there are specialists. And stone masons nowadays carry a price more than any other specialists: there are four vacancies per each specialist!

But it is not only the lack of job openings that prevents us from a more frequent job change, but also our “habitancy”. Almost 85 per cent of all the vacancies in Belarus are in Minsk. And they are mostly worker jobs. As for lawyers, economists, accountants and teachers, it is just on the contrary — they are needed in the regions (while in Minsk there are 80 lawyers per one vacancy). And every (!) region needs a senior veterinarian and a senior zootechnician. But to the question: “Can you move to a different town for a job?” almost 90 per cent of the respondents answered that they cannot!
Indeed, many companies, as before, value and try to keep their specialists who have worked with them for years, but the evaluation criterion is, first of all, the result and not the length of service. And if you feel bored at your present workplace, be sure that your manager will not be the last person to get to know this. That is why it is better to keep silent about your intentions. And once you decide to leave — do it gracefully!

Maria Kucherova
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