Russia » Economics

Russian language-a must!

Russian employers demand knowledge of Russian language from foreign employees

With every year, Russia becomes more and more appealing to young foreign managers. Today, however, being a foreigner is no longer enough. The main criterion has changed. Nowadays, it isn’t Russians who have to study English but foreigners who wish to work in Russia have to speak the language.

For instance, one of the Russian headhunting agencies Penny Lane Consulting has been hosting meetings and presentations in Western business schools for three years already. The agency's specialists claim that about two years ago they were mainly dealing with Russian students. This year, however, the situation has changed drastically.

“During our recent April's meeting at Harvard Business School, I’ve promised everyone to converse with him/her personally regarding Russian job market. Everyone got so interested that I almost started to regret about my promise,” said Director of the “bank and investment” department of Penny Lane Consulting, Elvira Muratova to “Vedomosti”.

Muratova claims that such active interest in Russia has to do with a lot of remarkable opportunities that Russian market can offer young people today. One of the major advantages is a rapid carrier growth. That is actually the reason why a lot of Russians prefer to return home after getting their MBAs. Besides, it is simply more fun to work in constantly growing and developing Russian market than in the stable West. According to Muratova, many students realize this.

We are not talking about some sort of a job boom in Russia. Based on the research conducted by an INSEAD lecturer and a partner of the Zest Leadership Company stanislav Shekshin, relatively low percentage of students is interested in Russian job market.

Nevertheless, Russian headhunting agencies receive several dozens of resumes from young foreign specialists, who are eager to apply their skills in Russia.

“Good education, minimum work experience, and they all are willing to work in Russia,” says one of the partners of the RosExpert headhunting agency anna Koff. “They've been to Moscow a couple of times, saw our nightlife, clubs. They heard from their colleagues they could make big money here and think they can easy get it all.” However, everything tends to be a bit different in reality.

According to another headhunting agency Arthur Hunt, only 5% of foreigners with MBA but without the language and without simple knowledge of Russian experience manage to get work.

Obviously, not all employers are looking for specialists with language skills. “In case we really find someone worthy, someone we really need, he/she could use a translator,” states Executive Director of HR department of “Baltika” Tatyana Narijnaya.

“Vedomosti” also writes that whereas Moscow and St. Petersburg employers are not that picky about the language issue, it is almost impossible to find a job in Russian regions without knowing Russian language.