Research: The economy seeks training managers

An ideal manager today is up to 35 years old, is a good boss and knows how to organize business. Already at 40 he comes to a higher level of management and after that to the position of the director

University education is important but talent also makes five or ten percent of good management, personnel experts consider. Moreover, often the good directors are even without a degree but those are the „natural born managers“ who have been lead to the successful business by high motivation, persistence and gaining experience in business. An ideal manager today is up to 35 years old, is a good boss and knows how to organize business. Already at 40 he comes to a higher level of management and after that to the position of the director. An advertisement in the field of management in finance, experts say, at the moment is answered by fifteen applications at most, and in the selection of personnel being acquainted with the situation on the market is very highly valued. A shortage of managers of the ideal age in the field of sales, marketing and finance has recently been compensated for by the phenomenon of „young lions“. Personnel market experts predict that the generations that more than ever before finish faculties on schedule, speak foreign languages and are well acquainted with technology will fill that gap in the economy. At the moment, however, a Serbian manager is financially more highly valued than a manager from Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and even Poland. Foreign companies therefore opt for moving the international offices to these markets because they get qualified people at lower costs than in Serbia.

This is how Dragan Čandrlić, the director of “Hill” International company, a company which began dealing in the search for personnel for big and successful foreign companies which were the first to appear on the Serbian market as far as 17 years ago, evaluates for Magazin Biznis the personnel market. Some of the companies are: “Minolta”, “Henkel”, “Coca Cola”, “Pepsi”, “Bosch”, “Microsoft”, “Mercedes”…

– All companies want a confirmation on the market. That you should have technology and quality goes without saying and that is why sales are important. Even when someone is a technologist or a chemistry engineer he must be a good salesman. Foreign companies have always required that, but the domestic ones have adopted that practice only recently- Čandrlić says. The explanation is logical, the monopolized domestic companies did not worry about whether they would sell something, the buyers were known in advance, so in such circumstances the need for experts in the field of technology was greater, he explains.

– Then competition appeared. At that very moment our companies had to redirect to sales development. Why finance? Bookkeepers, chief accountants and directors of finance have been more in demand since the state started putting the tax system in order – the director of “Hill” explains.

As he points out, the position most in demand in Serbia is the managerial one. They used to be, he says, easy to find:” you give one advertisement, get 150 or 200 applications and find at least five people who are really good“.

– That is what it was like some ten years ago. A shortage of managers appeared with the competition on the market. Now a different knowledge and experience are required. To be a young, graduate manager is only a road which, through the trainee position, one is to take on the way to higher positions- our interviewee explains.

-This job is quite complex. Our task is to, through the set methodology, give an answer to the client on which level the client matches the job requirements. It is not good when someone in unqualified, but at the same time „overqualified“workers are undesirable either. When in a few months they realize that they cannot advance, they start getting bored, do only the required minimum of work and start making mistakes, and that is good neither for them nor for the employers- Čandrlić says.

Researching how firms doing business in Serbia come by managerial personnel we also talked to Pelagija Vranić, general manager of HR company „Manage“.

– At the moment, for example, we have one advertisement: a foreign firm is looking for a top manager and we openly said that the pay was 4,000 euros, plus bonus and the thirteenth and fourteenth pay. And what is required of the candidate? Nothing special- that he/she has a university degree, speaks a foreign language because he/she is to have contact with the management and has a three to five year experience in managerial positions. Of course, it is necessary that he or she has personal qualities which are suitable for management jobs. That, at first sight, is nothing special, but trust me, such personnel is hard to come by. For that reason, stories such as „ we have many unemployed experts“are not entirely true, our interviewee considers.

It is true, she points out, that we have experts, but the problem is when an integrated ability for doing work is required, and that is different and more than our schooling gives because our faculties prepare people for the professions with which it is hard to immediately find a job on the market, so for that reason they are afterwards forced to do something else, for which they had not been trained. When we speak of such professions, usually project engineers in the field of construction are mentioned these days. – The aim of every young person studying for a project engineer is, of course, to design. But, such jobs are not many, construction managers are more in demand. Such people who do not find the desired job become dissatisfied as time passes and consider all other jobs as temporary. It happens that even after 10 or 15 years of experience they are still looking, because they have not realized themselves professionally- says Vranić. Companies, of course, need modern managers, something that has existed for a long time in the West. Middle management, that is, sales, marketing, logistics managers should now help employees adjust as well and fast as possible, and give confidence to those who have been working for a long time but have no new knowledge that the company needs them, but with different ways of working. Before, such personnel were required to hand down the information. They were a sort of supervisors; they gave tasks and supervised whether they had been carried out. It often happened, same as now in certain firms, that the department heads maintained the information on the development strategy strictly confidential because they considered such data their own privilege.

– We have a lot of experience in the field of middle management personnel employment. Today a different kind of people is in demand. Not the supervisors, but trainers, who will run the business, motivate the employees and not to oppress them. Likewise, training is necessary only for the beginners but a constant work with all the employees. Information flow, through constant reports on results achieved is now quite well controlled by the contemporary information technology- the director of HR company „Manage“explains.

– However, such people are not so easily found, and one of the reasons, as she points out, could be the fact that the domestic education for the required profession is not sufficiently adapted to the needs of the economy and market needs.

– Companies precisely define what is required of a potential employee. Young people should know that what they get at the faculty is information only, and that the economy needs knowledge. In order to go through practice successfully they need trainers. The economy and faculties should cooperate more, but it should be taken into account that to many it should be clearer that the faculties should adjust to the economy, and not vice versa- Vranić points out.

Profits and sales are today in the first place. As experts from HR maintain, therefore it rarely happens that a company is looking for an educated person without experience. It will remain so, they believe, until the employers have a greater interest in that, for example, a greater tax relief. In the economy every hour is important, training is expensive and no one wants to waste time.

– A few percent reliefs cannot be a sufficient motive for them to employ someone whose knowledge is not adapted to their needs. Finally, we cannot advise them to do something which does not pay off economically either. When students are prepared on the faculties in such a way that they can immediately start doing something in a company, they will be welcome. That is the key. It is necessary to change programmes at the universities, to open as many experimental laboratories as possible. In the West students do not get much company training either, but there are excellent workshops where they learn how to manage and what to do in the actual, real life situations. – Pelagija Vranić says.

(To be continued)
Ivana Vozarević
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