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09 Apr

Foreign highly skilled professionals at the service of agriculture in Russia

In the light of current economic trends a lot of domestic and foreign companies operating on the Russian market have to look at their business in a different way. Interestingly, this is particularly relevant to such critical sectors of the Russian economy as agribusiness and food industry.


European Staff BV has long-term and well-established connections with the companies involved in these industries, and has recently discussed with some of them some topical challenges and goals. Thus, one of the current priorities for the Russian market players is to achieve best performance using the high-standard model of production chain. The most effective way to achieve this goal is considered to be purchasing the cutting-edge equipment, sourcing advanced raw materials, as well as introducing new technologies into the production process. As a rule, in this case the preference is given to foreign suppliers and manufacturers.


However, even having the new production technology in hand it is not always possible to achieve the target performance. The major problem is with its proper application, creating step-by-step implementation techniques and management structure for process optimization.


Foreign equipment has some specific features in terms of installation and operation, and so does the project management system as a whole - and Russian specialists do not always possess such knowledge. That is why highly-qualified foreign personnel engagement has not only became a modern trend, but also an effective solution for many companies.


Based on our experience, it is safe to say that experts from the US, Western Europe and the UK still remain the most in-demand professionals in the agricultural sector, due to their qualifications, level of competence and unique tailor-made experience.

For example, some prominent agricultural holdings discovered the benefits of engaging foreign experts for their projects more than 10 years ago already. Their point is that Russian agricultural education is not capable of training personnel that meets contemporary requirements and standards of work at farms and production facilities.


Being involved in the business development between the Russian and Dutch agribusiness European Staff BV can assure that Dutch experts are much-in-demand on the Russian market, especially in dairy farming segment. The most sought-after experts are veterinary and animal welfare consultants. Specialists of other fields are highly desired, too, e.g.: engineers operating agricultural and food production machinery, organic farming specialists, greenhouse agronomic advisers, project developers and managers, poultry specialists, as well as other experts from different areas, where European experience and knowledge is a competitive advantage.


The results of our company’s latest client survey show that such specialists are engaged in a project for at least one year. When it happens, one of the most important functional duties of such employees (alongside with their basic duties) is sharing their experience and teaching the company’s staff the best practices.


As an example, one of the largest agro-holdings in Russia attracted a President for Poultry from the Netherlands to develop a system of motivation and training for the top management of the company. The experience, gained from the foreign specialist created the basis for the business plans of new full-cycle poultry farms with high-tech equipment, which subsequently improved the KPIs of the company and contributed to greater market coverage in the Russian Federation.


In many cases, large foreign equipment manufacturers provide staff training to their customers as a part of an added value equipment supply offering. They delegate their in-house specialist to the client’s facilities to carry out commissioning and then train the staff to operate the equipment. If the company does not have employees who possess the required skills to operate this equipment, the package from the manufacturer seems to be the best option to choose. However, managers may not be aware of the fact that this decision is tactical rather than a strategic one. The fact is, the short-term visit of a competent expert does not guarantee the long-term quality of the entire production chain and maximum yields and output.


Another problem connected with hiring of a foreign specialist is the set of associated costs. In addition to the payment for the service as such, the company must cover travel and accommodation expenses, translation services and other expenses. According to data provided by our European colleagues, the estimated service cost is within the range from EUR 5.000 to 8.000.  


An alternative solution to a problem of training can be sending the company’s in-house manager to a foreign company to adopt the best practices, but it is also an expensive and time-consuming process. Besides, no one can be sure that that a newly-trained expert will stay with the company in future.


When our customers seek assistance from us, as a staffing agency, they intend to employ a foreign specialist on long-term contract basis so that he would be present on site full-time, controlling operation of the equipment, carrying out its commissioning and maintenance, , as well as training the existing operational staff. Russian companies, especially large-scale agribusiness players often consider hiring these employees as an investment that in the future will bring much higher returns than savings on professional management.


Summing up the market situation, it may be said that the Russian economy is going through a change, and investing in foreign highly-qualified staff is the right direction to further development of every company.