Labor market that doesn’t respect employees

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  • 2024-02-19
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Labor market that doesn’t respect employees

  After graduating from university, Nomin joined a large company as a Sales Manager. When the company advertised for a vacant position, it said, “We will train and empower young people who speak foreign languages and are able to work as a team. No work experience required. We will support responsible and capable young people under all conditions,” which sounded pleasant to Nomin. Nomin managed her expenses through extensive part time job experiences since her freshman year, had good time management and personal organization, and was able to understand and communicate with anyone in English without difficulty, and she sure was capable. However, since she took over the job, problems and conflicts began appearing.

In fact, the employer did not provide significant information about their job role and rights, including training. She was mostly mobilized for document preparation, signing, and typing reports. Those who have worked for many years began using her saying, “You are younger, so you do this, go there and come.” The Head of the department said, “We have a vacancy for a trade employee. Until a new employee is hired, take double responsibility for the time being.” Despite agreeing to work from 09:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as signed in the contract, due to traveling back and forth, she began returning home at 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m.. Along with this, her lifestyle was lost, and she didn’t have time for herself anymore. After two months, she decided to quit her job. When she told this to her management and colleagues, they were upset and said, “Work until another employee is found.” Thus, Nomin had to work for another month.

She said, “At first, I started working with the desire to try my best. During my studies at the university, I developed myself fully and acquired the necessary skills. However, I was not given the opportunity to mobilize all of this and prove myself. Due to the unclear roles of duties, I had become a person who worked only through orders of people. The negative atmosphere of the community and discrimination had a negative effect on my psychology and work productivity. While working there, I almost forgot myself. My dream of working while studying for my master’s degree fell through. At first, I began to work with a limit, and took pressure on me because my coworkers told me, ‘You are a new employee, so you should try harder, and spend more time.’ Finally, I was done. I couldn't even find time for my favorite things. Now, I am translating official documents and research papers. I realized how important the organization’s management, community relations, attitude, and working environment are last summer.” Nomin said that she will adhere to the principle of being thorough, clear, and strict when she gets a job in the future. She also frankly said that she feels nervous and afraid of what kind of team she will meet and if the situation will be the same as before. This example is specifically mentioned because problems and difficulties similar to Nomin’s case have become a common phenomenon in the labor market of Mongolia.

Nowadays, every company and organization is running out of human resources. Complaints that “No one is willing to work a job with a salary of millions of tugriks”, and advertisements such as, “Responsible and creative young people will be trained regardless of work experience” has grown, which is proof of this. Some of the employers are setting too high requirements and criteria. Higher education and foreign language skills are demanded even from cleaners and salesmen. On the other hand, young people are invited to work with catchy words like, “No work experience needed. Passion is enough,” but in reality, employers don’t follow through on their promises, make them do work that isn’t in their job description, and treat them in an old-fashioned way. However, today’s young people, who are defined as Digital natives or Generation Z, see and accept the workplace and labor relations in a very different way.

They prefer to work in a flexible environment. This is against the old and boring system of going to work at a fixed time in the morning and going home at the same time in the evening. It is important to evaluate the work by the results and productivity of the work done, not by the time spent sitting on the chair. Work atmosphere, working environment, and policies to support individual growth and development are the most important for today’s generation. Due to the advantages of technical and technological development and factors due to unexpected challenges such as the pandemic, the number of young people working remotely and online has increased. According to the report of the International Labor Organization, this style will continue to spread and become a trend in the labor market. That opportunity is expanding year by year. Unfortunately, due to the fact that employers are unable to assess the real situation and operate in the dark, a wall of misunderstanding and distortion of supply and demand has been erected in the labor market.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection cooperated with the Mongolian Marketing Consulting Group (MMCG), which is a Labor and Social Security Training, Evaluation and Research Institute and conducted a study on “Mongolian labor market mid-term (2024-2035) demand and supply forecast” in 2023 and released it at the beginning of this year. With this, it was determined that there is a shortage of more than 300,000 employees in the labor market of Mongolia. A decrease in the birth rate, increased migration abroad, an increase in informal employment, and a decrease in the number of students enrolled in universities in the last five years contributed to the shortage of labor force, but misunderstandings due to the attitudes and methods of the new generation of young people also “contribute” to this, says the researchers. Therefore, it was recommended that “Young people of the new millennium will form most of the workforce in the future, so it is necessary to radically revise the human resource policy.”

Generation Z accounted for 12 percent of the working-age population in 2020, while researchers estimate that it will make up 23 percent in 2025, 34 percent in 2030, and 43 percent in 2035. In specific, in 10 years, this generation will occupy almost half of the working-age population of Mongolia. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention in this direction and make changes and reforms at the policy level in order not to continue the current crisis for a long time and not to bring it to an extreme.

Countries and international organizations began to study in detail the changes in the labor market related to the behavior, characteristics, and skills of young people of the new millennium, and based on this, they have started to update their policies and management. Deloitte, an audit, consulting, and evaluation firm with more than 470,000 employees and operating in 150 countries, continues to advise countries to conduct annual research in this area and prepare for the wave of change. Last year, the organization conducted a study on the topic of “Generation Z and the new millennials” involving more than 22,000 young people from 44 countries and concluded that “By 2030, this generation will become the main players and have a strong influence in all fields such as society, economy, environment, and mining in the world and the beginning of this will be from 2026.” Therefore, it was noted that it is necessary to pay attention to the creation of workplaces with flexible conditions that meet their characteristics.

The results of the labor market surveys conducted in Mongolia in recent years also “remind” us to be ready for the wave of change. The current problem was previously revealed in the 2021 “Current and Future Supply and Demand of the Mongolian Labor Market” study conducted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in collaboration with international organizations. Researchers talked about the same things at that time as well. However, nothing significant has been done so far. We have not even aligned the demands and characteristics of the labor market with the system of higher education and training programs for specialists. The occurrences of employers and the employees sitting across each other and criticizing each other have grown significantly. As a result, there are more and more young people like Nomin in Mongolia, who are unable to find anything to do and are unable to work.