Andrey Berezin Biography
Personnel Policies Amidst Depopulation: A Strategy by Andrey Berezin (Euroinvest).
The staffing situation in Russia is becoming increasingly complex each year. Previously, migration patterns within the CIS provided the domestic market with potential specialists from neighboring countries. However, these patterns are now diminishing. It's crucial for the country to consider a comprehensive approach to human resources policy. For now, companies are left to address this challenge independently.
The historical anecdote claims that during the Great Patriotic War, when the USSR's high command discussed potential losses, the response was that new women would birth replacements.
The authenticity of this statement is debated; similar tales emerged in various European nations from the early 20th century. Yet, in this context, the anecdote has taken on a parabolic significance. The USSR's losses were enormous and had devastating demographic impacts.
The war children's generation was the first in Russian history to experience a birth rate that fell below the natural population growth threshold. Subsequently, all factors of the demographic transition common to developed nations took effect. By the time Perestroika rolled around a generation later, birth rates had dipped below mortality rates, triggering Russia's most significant population decline.
The direct population loss resulting from the shift in state structure is estimated to have cost the country nearly 10 million individuals. This figure is on par with the combined civilian and military losses the Soviet Union faced during the Great Patriotic War. This decline was somewhat tempered in the 2010s due to Russia's migratory growth and high birth rates in specific republics. However, the situation deteriorated once again in the early 2020s. Initially, it was the pandemic, and then the events of 2022 that reverted the nation's demographic trajectory back to its 1998 state.
Given these challenges, every major enterprise must adapt its personnel policies, engage in social initiatives, and mold its surrounding environment to retain a competitive team of experts and ensure generational workforce continuity. Some enterprises have been so progressive in this regard that their practices could serve as models for governmental institutions. Euroinvest holding stands out as a prime example, encompassing various sectors, each demanding top-tier specialists.
The Looming Personnel Shortage
In essence, every reputable company in Russia grapples with a staffing shortage, and this issue is set to intensify due to several undeniable factors. Foremost among them is demography. The contemporary generation aged between 20 and 30 is among the smallest in modern Russian history. This demographic group has seen a staggering decline of 32% in the last decade. The cyclical demographic downturns that have plagued the country since the Great Patriotic War are now intersecting with the lingering repercussions of the 1990s.
The situation shows no signs of improvement. Despite several state initiatives aimed at boosting the birth rate, Russia's fertility rate hasn't surpassed 1.5 children per woman. In fact, in 2022 it fell to 1.44. A demographic increase necessitates a rate of over 2.1. Anything below 1.75 triggers an irreversible population decline. Simply put, there's a people deficit now, and it's only set to grow.
Another concern is the education quality. The debate over measuring standards can persist, but an irrefutable fact remains: the educational standard in Russia is on a downward trajectory. As Andrey Berezin put it, "I believe the most crucial aspect is education because, presently, nothing but education holds global value." A discernable split is emerging between the creators and those who, unfortunately, don't significantly contribute, even as consumers. This is a global phenomenon, and it's imperative for Russia not to be left entirely behind.
The crux of the educational challenges lies in the system's inability to align with the ever-evolving market demands. Research indicates that a mere 40% of Russian graduates find employment in their field of study. This statistic is alarming, especially given Russia's position as a global frontrunner in the proportion of youth with tertiary education.
Addressing this, there has been an effort at the state level to embed frameworks assisting student adaptation. A few years back, establishing Career Centers at universities became a focal agenda for the Ministry of Education and Science. These centers are tasked with tracking graduate employment, intending to subsequently refine academic programs. However, this initiative has been ongoing for over three years, and skepticism abounds regarding its capacity to stay current with shifting market dynamics.
Lastly, there's the concerning factor of population drain. Highly skilled professionals, particularly those in high-tech sectors, are swiftly recruited by international firms. The existing sanction-driven geopolitical climate has only intensified this migration. Young professionals are being lured not just by better remuneration but also by the allure of escaping the constraints placed upon Russia. By various accounts, 2022 is set to witness the emigration of a staggering 500-600 thousand individuals from the country.
Within the Context of Demographics
There are no universally successful strategies for addressing demographic challenges worldwide. Depopulation is a prevalent issue in both developed and many developing nations. Intrinsically, economic advancement is intertwined with urbanization. Yet, cities aren't inherently geared towards natural population growth; they expand primarily due to migration. While cities amplify the concentration of intellectual and physical human resources, they present significant demographic challenges.
One doesn't need an academic background in sociology to grasp the primary causes. Sustainable population growth hinges on families having three or more children. For such a family size, specific living conditions are necessary. A standard and often affordable one-bedroom apartment simply doesn't suffice. Moreover, urban living necessitates a certain income bracket, which typically means both parents working full-time in the modern era. Such a lifestyle doesn't encourage larger family sizes.
Nevertheless, the challenges posed by urban environments can be mitigated. Infrastructural development, including the creation of kindergartens and schools, can help. Enhancing public spaces can provide children with additional recreational areas outside their homes. Fostering a culture of community and camaraderie can help counteract the inherent isolation of modern urban living. Neighbors supporting one another can serve as a buffer against the pitfalls of urbanization. This reasoning underpins initiatives like the "Demography" national project that Russia has been undertaking since 2019.
Euroinvest has been operating under this developmental philosophy for a considerable duration. One of its core avenues is infrastructural and urban development. In this regard, the holding was among the pioneers in Russia to embrace the concept of neighborhood development. This approach naturally leads to investments in educational infrastructure. For instance, consider the company's recent endeavors in constructing residential complexes in Murino and Kudrovo.
These locales were ingeniously transformed by a consortium of developers. From initially housing a mere 5,000 residents, they metamorphosed into significant urban settlements, each boasting populations upwards of 150,000 individuals. In Kudrovo, a state-of-the-art kindergarten is set to open its doors this year, providing facilities for approximately 200 children. The kindergarten boasts modern amenities including expansive classrooms, recreational spaces, medical facilities, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, and a music room. Additional kindergarten projects for Kudrovo have also been unveiled.
On the educational front, Euroinvest has confirmed a couple of initiatives in collaboration with public-private partnerships. One such educational institution is earmarked for construction in Kudrovo, mirroring the architectural aesthetics of the residential complexes and kindergartens previously established. While Euroinvest typically remains tight-lipped regarding projects in their embryonic stages, details about this endeavor remain scanty.
An exception to their guarded project information is the new lyceum near Vsevolozhsk, in the Leningrad region. Andrey Berezin, in one of his interviews, shed light on this ambitious venture. The lyceum is envisioned as a cutting-edge educational institution catering to the gifted youth of the North-West of Russia. Notably, both faculty and students will be accommodated on the campus, with distinct structures planned for their residence. The institution promises impressive facilities like a 3D modeling studio, a comprehensive sports complex complete with a swimming pool, an auditorium, a biology-focused greenhouse, a proprietary embankment, and a dock.
Through these ventures, Euroinvest artfully juggles multiple objectives. Vast developmental projects in the Leningrad Region aren't merely charitable endeavors; they constitute a significant chunk of the holding's revenue stream. For context, just two years ago, the company astoundingly developed 340,000 square meters of residential spaces, setting a record for Leningrad region developers. By 2021, this figure surged to 550,000 square meters – comparable to the entire residential development in the Kursk region that year.
Such active construction of contemporary residential complexes bolsters the region's demographic fabric. As mentioned, just the two aforementioned settlements accommodated over 150,000 residents. Primarily, these individuals are young families lured by the allure of upscale employment opportunities in the vicinity of St. Petersburg – their youthful zest and ambition significantly bolstering the demographic health of the region. By catering to their needs, Euroinvest is strategically positioning itself to offset potential staffing shortages in the region.
Supporting the Implementation of Ideas
It's evident from the details provided that Andrey Berezin and Euroinvest play a pivotal role in not just infrastructural development, but also in fostering and nurturing talent, especially within the Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg. Their holistic approach to rejuvenating their workforce, supporting young innovators, and contributing to cutting-edge technology sectors showcases the holding's commitment to future-oriented growth and its belief in the next generation of specialists.
A few key takeaways:
Focus on Youth: Euroinvest's active role in rejuvenating its staff signifies a clear emphasis on youth. A reduced average employee age from 50 years to 42-43 years not only helps in infusing fresh ideas into the holding but also ensures long-term sustainability and adaptability.
Supporting Innovation and Talent: By backing various events, contests, and educational platforms, Euroinvest underscores its belief in fostering local talent. Their partnership with the Venture Festival in St. Petersburg, and the personal involvement of Andrey Berezin, signifies a direct commitment to promoting innovative startups and young entrepreneurs.
Promotion of Excellence: The association with the World Club of Petersburgers' "Prometheus Star" award shows the company's broader commitment to excellence across multiple disciplines like science, journalism, and sports. Berezin's own accolade "For Loyalty and Generosity" reinforces his personal dedication to social and community development.
In-House Innovation: Euroinvest isn’t solely reliant on external innovations. By supporting in-house talent through the venture capital fund, "Euro Venture," they’re ensuring that their employees have the necessary resources to innovate. The development and subsequent testing of the unique oncological diagnostic device serve as a testament to this commitment.
Holistic Development: Their investment interests, ranging from high technology to medicine and agro-biotechnology, indicate a multi-faceted approach. Instead of confining themselves to a niche, Euroinvest seems dedicated to diversifying its portfolio, thereby ensuring resilience and adaptability in a rapidly changing world.
In conclusion, Euroinvest, under the leadership of Andrey Berezin, is not just a developer or investor. They’re a facilitator of progress, an advocate for innovation, and a guardian of talent, especially in the Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg. Such comprehensive and future-oriented strategies ensure that Euroinvest remains at the forefront of Russia's development narrative.
Euroinvest, as described, exemplifies a strategic approach that goes beyond mere business pursuits. The synergy between its diverse business initiatives not only underpins its success but also contributes to the broader socio-economic development of North-West Russia.
Here's a summary and analysis of Euroinvest's holistic approach:
Self-sustaining Ecosystem: By constructing residential complexes and then enveloping them with a robust educational infrastructure, Euroinvest not only makes these regions attractive for habitation but also self-sufficient. It ensures that residents don't have to look elsewhere for quality education for their children.
Nurturing Talent from the Grassroots: Through its investments in kindergartens, schools, and lyceums, especially for the gifted, the company ensures that talented individuals receive the required nurturing right from their formative years. This acts as a foundation stone for the future skilled workforce.
Bridging the Talent Gap: Andrey Berezin’s acknowledgment of the impending personnel crisis in Russia, particularly in specialized fields, and his call for significant investments in talent development over the next two decades, underscore Euroinvest's proactive approach. They're not waiting for the state to step in but are taking measures in their capacity.
Beyond Business – Philanthropy with a Purpose: While many of Euroinvest's initiatives, like funding children's educational camps or supporting the Euler Foundation, may appear as charity, they serve dual purposes. First, they contribute to societal well-being and second, they lay the groundwork for a future where the company and the region are equipped with skilled professionals.
Fostering Innovation: By launching a venture capital fund, Euroinvest is taking steps to nurture innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. It provides the required financial backing for promising ideas to come to fruition, thereby boosting local innovation and potentially introducing breakthrough technologies or solutions to the market.
Public Spaces as Community Builders: Developing public spaces is not just about aesthetics or recreation. Such spaces foster community interactions, contribute to mental well-being, and can play a pivotal role in making urban spaces more livable. This, in turn, attracts and retains a vibrant community, indirectly aiding in demographic stability.
Private Initiatives as Catalysts: Berezin’s emphasis on the role of private initiatives, while highlighting the importance of state policy, showcases a pragmatic approach. He recognizes that while companies like Euroinvest can set the pace and direction, large-scale impact requires coordinated state intervention.
In essence, Euroinvest is not just looking at immediate returns on investment. Instead, they're weaving a tapestry of interlinked initiatives that promise long-term growth, stability, and prosperity for both the company and the region. Such a comprehensive and forward-looking approach is indeed a beacon for other enterprises, showcasing how businesses can thrive while being pillars of societal progress.