Russian young people are again showing an interest in natural science specialties. This has been proved by this year's entrance examinations to higher educational establishments, now in their final days. Young Russians are increasingly favouring the mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology faculties of universities and institutes.
In the 1990s, Russia saw a massive brain drain to the West, where scientists were given their due, which was expressed in high salaries and good working conditions. The country was practically unable to keep its young scientists. Now mathematicians, chemists, physicists and biologists of a new generation are in demand at home - the rising Russian economy is "mobilising" them.
A recruiting drive for young mathematicians has been launched by rapidly growing insurance companies, think tanks of banks, design offices, and production forecasting divisions. Physicists are expected in telecommunications and communications. Biologists are wanted in gene engineering. Biochemists and synthesis chemistry specialists are at a premium. The starting salaries of young specialists in these fields are 400 to 500 dollars, compared with the national average wage of 6,600 roubles (one dollar equals 29 roubles).
On the other hand, beginner economists and lawyers are finding it difficult to get a job today. Over recent years the higher school has trained too many specialists in these areas. "We have an obvious abundance of legal experts and economists," says Nikolai Bulayev, chairman of the education and science committee of the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament). "A bill is in the works to involve employers in forming a state order for institutes and vocational schools. It would be wiser if initially a person got a speciality demanded on the labour market".
The labour market is developing much more dynamically than the market of specialist training. The process of adjustment - adapting the latter to the former - takes more than a year: the educational system "features a certain conservatism", the deputy noted. It is necessary "to make forecasts for educational institutions about changes on the labour market," if only for a short period of time, remarks Bulayev.
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