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NEET Youth: What Happens When People Lack Diligence, Emotional Stability and Perseverance

NEET Youth: What Happens When People Lack Diligence, Emotional Stability and Perseverance

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Demand for higher education increases with the development of technologies that replace routine labour, and there is already increased demand for specialists in the IT industry today. At the same time, some university graduates neither study nor work, while about one third of this ‘free’ youth cohort lives in poverty (as do their parents). This topic was discussed at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference session on human capital and salaries.

Marina Telezhkina, Senior Lecturer at the HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod Department of Economic Theory and Econometrics, studied the correlation between the demand for skills and the demand for higher education.

She said that technological development leads to considerable changes in the list of high-demand skills. Consequently, the numbers of employees with high, average and low levels of skills are changing, as is the correlation of their salaries. Job market indicators can be considered a determinant of the demand for higher education.

According to the study, the dynamics of this demand can mostly be explained by the dynamics of employment among employees with average levels of skills. Their number grew fastest in developing countries in 1998–2005 (on average 9% annually), with concurrent fast growth also observed in the share of university students (on average 7% annually). Researchers believe that the reason for this is the distribution of technologies that replace routine labour. In subsequent years, the rates decreased simultaneously in both spheres.

Research fellows of Southern Federal University Marina Masych and Karen Avanesyan presented a paper on non-cognitive skills among NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) young people in Russia. This term describes people aged 15–29 who are not students and are unemployed. Statistical data shows that the share of NEET people does not depend on the economic levels of their countries of residence.

The researchers focused on non-cognitive skills in this cohort, ie persistent personality characteristics such as diligence, emotional stability, perseverance, extraversion etc. Economists, psychologists and sociologists say that such skills impact levels of education, academic performance, choice of profession, employment and salary.

55% of NEET people in Russia are female, and over 60% live in rural areas. 17% of them have a university degree, and 29% come from the poorest cohort of families, which is a sign of insufficient vertical social mobility in Russian society.

The study showed that NEET people fall most behind their peers in three key skills: diligence, emotional stability and perseverance. A smaller gap is observed in extraversion and alternative thinking. NEET people are also more inclined to interpret other people’s intentions as hostile.

Empirical measurements confirm that these skills are flexible and able to transform and develop under targeted impact. This means that it is possible to develop public programmes to support this vulnerable cohort of young people. The development of non-cognitive skills could be one way to help these people overcome poverty.

Sofia Paklina, Junior Research Fellow at the HSE University in St Petersburg International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy, studied the Russian IT labour market, particularly the impact of candidates’ expectations on their negotiated salaries.

Until recently, there were two key mechanisms for establishing salaries in the Russian labour market: negotiations or a fixed amount that is non-negotiable. Both are based on the assumption that the employer has the exclusive right to establish the initial salary offer. But this assumption no longer reflects the real development scenarios of the job market, where it is increasingly common for candidates to actively articulate their expected compensation to the employer.

The federal service ‘Work in Russia’ registers a 40% increase in the number of published CVs every year. The IT industry is growing the fastest, which means that employees have many alternative job options and employee turnover in the profession is increasing. The demand for IT professionals has reinforced their salaries even during the pandemic, which is why they are not afraid to change jobs or pursue more promising projects. The study showed that one additional advanced computer skill increases expected salaries by an average of 4.9%.

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