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Working paper

Graduates’ competencies for the innovation labour market

The paper highlights key research questions that concern skills and abilities of highly qualified personnel who are employed in the innovation related labour market. Developing a national system of competencies which would allow selecting and training personnel capable of creating and applying innovations is a very challenging task. The solution implies first of all the construction of the relevant methodologies and tools for assessment competencies acquired during vocational education and training and competencies required at working places. A survey of engineers conducted by the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge of the NRU HSE in 2011 strives for moving beyond the simple slogans of the knowledge economy and the received wisdom about shifts from low to higher skills, from blue to white collars. This study investigates how far the trend in skill requirements follows market expectations. Two large groups of highly qualified STI personnel are studied: the first includes the engineering and technical personnel with top-level qualifications employed by industrial enterprises, the other involves the staff of research, development, design organisations whose responsibilities include R&D (а total of 3158 graduates were surveyed). The paper is organized as follows. First, the data collection approach and analysis methodology are introduced and results discussed. Second, engineering education and application of acquired skills are analysed. The paper concludes with a summary of the major findings that show the important role of ‘general’ competencies required from engineers at their jobs, such as self-organisation, openness to new information, the ability and willingness to learn, and communication skills.