The Business Year

Aigul Shamshildayeva

General Director, Global Resources LLP

David Mashuri

Partner & Country Manager, WE Partners Kazakhstan

The EEU agreement and an influx of multinationals are upending local labor markets and forcing human resource specialists to take into account increased mobility and changing legal structures.

How is the presence of international companies changing the way that firms in Kazakhstan handle human resource needs?

AIGUL SHAMSHILDAYEVA International companies have high standards they would like to maintain in Kazakhstan and they are looking for people to match those standards. Sometimes they can find people themselves by advertising, through internal recruitment, or their HR departments. When they cannot find it or the time frame is narrow, they ask recruitment agencies to help. In addition to highly-skilled, English speaking workers, companies are looking for someone who would be committed, someone diligent, with the right attitude, someone they can rely on and that presents another challenge. Even qualified, well-educated, experienced people can be swapping jobs: competitors offer a more attractive package or career development opportunities. The company has to consider salary levels compared to other companies, as well as the overall compensation package, the career development potential, especially to mid-level management.

DAVID MASHURI International companies are not the only ones hiring expatriates. If you look at the banking sector, which is not all that active right now, you will notice that even local banks have expatriates in their management team. That is an industry, by the way, where we have the most properly developed talent in Kazakhstan. We have many graduates, who want to enter the financial sector, but we have seen many executives, who are not from Kazakhstan. We are able to assess the potential of the candidate, who is entering the organization, or the potential of the employee, who is up for promotion. We are able to do this through our patented products such as “ViaEDGE,” which is an online assessment tool that is based on Lominger competencies library and identifies the Learning Agility of our candidates. Our international clients, such as Philip Morris or Mars, utilize this competencies library, so that when they hire people we receive a job description and competencies that we have to look for. Our clients also use it for internal assessments for the high potential or succession planning programs.

How do you expect the recent regional agreements to affect the labor market in Kazakhstan?

AS We will have an outflow of qualified, educated, experienced people from here to Russia because the salaries are higher and the packages may be better, and an inflow of less-qualified and less-educated people from other countries for whom the Kazakhstani labor market is attractive. There is an inflow of expatriates coming from Russia. This is a concern for our labor market—the rising outflow of qualified people to Russia and in inflow of less-qualified people from other countries. To improve this situation, first of all, our education system needs improvement. We still bring a lot of foreign labor in Kazakhstan, which is good because companies that invest in Kazakhstan want to bring their employees and this creates a diverse, cosmopolitan culture. However, from a government perspective, with the Labor Ministry complaining about the high unemployment rate, and the education system needs attention. If I was the Minister of Labor, I would work with the Minister of Education and review statistics over the last fifteen or twenty years and show for which jobs work permits are mostly required over the years, what is the real demand of the Employers.

DM We expected there to be more executives coming from Russia to Kazakhstan. In reality, all of the projects that I have done here have had access to the Russian market for the placement of executives, especially those coming from Moscow, have not had a very good reception. I think the reason behind that is because majority of Russian executives view Kazakhstan as being too peripheral a market, and they do not look at it as an opportunity to build a network if they move to Kazakhstan. So they are not willing to relocate freely. We were much more effective in bringing in executives from Eastern Europe, such as Poland or the Czech Republic. This is still very much the case, but it may change because of the ruble’s instability and the perception that Kazakhstan will be a more interesting market for Russian executives.



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