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Competences of Engineers. Evidence from a Comparative Study for Russia and EU Countries


  • Natalia Shmatko

    () (Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics)


This paper assesses knowledge and skill levels required for engineers in an ideal labor market. Understanding the demand and supply of engineers’ skills is important for modernization policies, and it is also important to know how to measure skill absorption by employees. Based on empirical research, the author evaluates the skill levels and absorption capacities of Russian engineers to measure what knowledge they can mobilize to resolve professional tasks. It constructs profiles of the different categories of engineering personnel. It compares demand and supply of engineering skills in Russia and EU countries in five categories: use of professional knowledge, individual performance, team work, managerial and communication skills. The analysis shows significant distinctions among compared countries. To summarize, the level of general and special competencies for Russian engineers is well below what is required by their workplace. The contrary can be said about their European counterparts, who have the required skills. Serious discrepancies between Russian and European engineers (favouring Europeans) are observed for organization and coordination skills, team work, effective use of time, ability to evaluate critically their own and others’ ideas, use the computer and the Internet for professional purposes. The availability of specialized engineering skills alone is insufficient in today's job market: employers expect a more proactive approach by the engineers, including the promotion of the products. In view of various "distortions" in the training of engineers, not only in Russia but also in other countries, where the patterns of portfolios in the labour market do not match the demand for them, the possession of social skills is of particular value. Note: Downloadable document is in Russian.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalia Shmatko, 2012. "Competences of Engineers. Evidence from a Comparative Study for Russia and EU Countries," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 6(4), pages 32-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:fsight:v:6:y:2012:i:4:p:32-47

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elizaveta Sivak & Maria Yudkevich, 2008. "«Closed» Academic Environment and Local Academic Conventions," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 2(4), pages 32-41.
    2. Jasper Van Loo & Judith Semeijn, 2004. "Defining and Measuring Competences: An Application to Graduate Surveys," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 331-349, June.
    3. Martin HUMBURG & Andries de GRIP & Rolf van der VELDEN, 2017. "Which skills protect graduates against a slack labour market?," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 156(1), pages 25-43, March.
    4. Mane, Ferran, 1999. "Trends in the payoff to academic and occupation-specific skills: the short and medium run returns to academic and vocational high school courses for non-college-bound students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 417-437, October.
    5. Esposto, A., 2008. "Skill: An Elusive and Ambiguous Concept in Labour Market Studies," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 34(1), pages 100-124.
    6. Heijke, Hans & Meng, Christoph & Ris, Catherine, 2003. "Fitting to the job: the role of generic and vocational competencies in adjustment and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 215-229, April.
    7. Natalya Shmatko, 2011. "Scientific Capital as a Driver of Researchers’ Social Mobility," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 5(3), pages 18-32.
    8. Leonid Gokhberg & Tatyana Kuznetsova, 2011. "Strategy 2020: New Outlines of Russian Innovation Policy," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 5(4), pages 8-30.
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    Cited by:

    1. Konstantin Fursov & Ian Miles, 2013. "Framing Emerging Nanotechnologies: Steps Towards A Forward-Looking Analysis Of Skills," HSE Working papers WP BRP 15/STI/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item


    vocational education; innovation economy; engineering personnel; competences; skills;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management


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