The representatives of international companies in Ukraine and Serbia have been surveyed by NaUKMA and UNI, respectively, to detail competences that potential employees are expected to have for working in geographically dispersed groups, i.e. to be able to work for such companies. The results of the survey served as a basis to elaborate competence profiles for employees in international companies, aggregated in the assessment report.
In total 35 companies from Serbia and Ukraine participated in the survey. Respondents in the two countries gave comparable responses (no more than 2 places difference in the national rankings) for all the questions of the poll, including first place in ranking for good communication skills, in particular the ability to communicate well with people from different cultures. The only skill/competence, which was ranked substantially different was general intelligence, ranked 10th by the companies in Serbia and 6th in Ukraine. Most of the companies agreed that universities in Serbia and Ukraine only partially provide their students with the skills and competencies necessary for working in geographically dispersed groups. Employers in both countries gave almost the same recommendations for universities on equipping their students with skills and competences necessary for working in multicultural environment: exchange of knowledge, participation in joint research and multicultural projects, joint case studies, exchange of students and lecturers, international internships etc. It is interesting that they marked the need for more practical work/experience, involvement of real business into the study process and organization of studies based on real business cases as the second most important recommendation for the universities in this regard.
Respondents in both countries generally agreed that international student mobility may help students to improve skills required by the international companies with multicultural environment. However, Serbian and Ukrainian companies differently prioritized the main argument for students to participate in the international mobility programmes: in Serbia developing soft skills, i.e. adaptability, flexibility, taking initiative, proactivity was found most important, whereas the students in Ukraine were recommended first of all to improve foreign language proficiency while participating in the mobility projects. Though, each of the answers that was ranked first in one country appeared to be on the second or third place among the employers’ answers in another, which allows us to find the mobility priorities’ perception to be similar in Serbia and Ukraine. Among the other most important skills which could be developed during the mobility, respondents in both of the countries marked gaining study/work experience in international community and developing communication skills. On the other hand, the employers in two countries disagreed about the least important reasons for participation in mobility: developing tolerance skills and enhancing general intelligence were marked as least important by the respondents in Serbia, whereas enhancing multicultural sensitivity/awareness and getting opportunity to learn how to respect other traditions were the least valued in Ukraine. The project report can be found here.