Employment: bitter truth

This topic is very painful, especially to youth of Kazakhstan. The government says: “Educated youth are our future”. But when it comes to employment after education, all the roads lead nowhere.

Let me explain everything clearer through the following example. The government has invested a lot in opening a new university, one of the best ones nowadays, named after our President. The faculty there is from overseas. The campus is huge and has all the facilities the students may dream about. And the tuition is FREE. The only thing you have to do is study hard for entrance exams. But those were not the real things that attracted prospective students. Considering the fact that in order to get a good job in Kazakhstan you have to have connections, the major factor that appealed to everyone was the promise of 100% employment made by the university to all of its graduates.  In other words, the educational entity literally said: “If you have our diploma, you will be a top priority among all the candidates”. Five years passed, so did the first commencement. What do you think? Of course, graduates were deceived. Why? Because employers do not care! What you know does not matter. How many languages you speak does not bother them. What skills you own is not in their interest. The one and only key to succeed and finally get employed is having connections. As a student studying abroad, having a good international experience and internships, speaking six languages, recently I became curious and asked my cousin, who works in Kazakhstan, about things that are valued the most when applying to the job in our country. Can you guess what was his response? “Nothing.” You should have seen my face expression full of anger. If I am coming back home after graduation, why am I even studying in Europe, America? Why am I spending so much money on living, learning languages, etc., if I could just study in a cheap, crappy university in my country and then just get a good job thanks to my connections? Oh, wait. Sometimes even that does not work. My cousin, who graduated from China in 2015, is still stuck at home. Another cousin of mine, a graduate of a business school in London, was asked to quit the job while she was on maternity leave! Why ask a pregnant woman to commit an illegal act? Because the boss wanted to give my cousin’s position to her own relative.

So, as you can see nepotism is all over the country for any job: from railway stations to parliament. No matter what your education level or experience is. That is why many young professionals prefer to work abroad and later the government starts complaining “You must work and bring improvements to the country that raised you, that fed you with bread.” However, if you are a foreigner and willing to come to work in Kazakhstan, do not worry. You will be highly paid and provided with all the services like accommodation and insurances. This fact makes locals very mad. But this is a whole other story.