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More Companies Are Recruiting Managers

An increasing number of Russian companies are looking to hire managers, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The quarterly survey of 400 local and multinational companies by recruitment agency Antal found that 58 percent of them wanted more managers in April, compared to 42 percent in January.

This rate is higher than the 53 percent recorded in France, which was ranked as having the healthiest level of hiring managers among major West European economies, said Antal, a subsidiary of the British recruiter FiveTen Group.

Antal's Russian survey is part of a bigger international survey of companies from 32 countries.

"If you think things are bad here [in Russia], believe me, they are much worse over there," said Luc Jones, a partner at Antal, referring to Western Europe.

The findings indicate that companies have stopped viewing cuts in head count as the single way of reducing costs, Michael Germershausen, Antal's deputy managing director, said in a statement.

"We are seeing some early optimism developing," he said, adding that several companies were trying to reverse staff cuts made during the end of last year and early this year.

The findings appear to reflect government statistics. The registered unemployment rate began dropping last month for the first time in the six months since October, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said Monday. He attributed the modest fall of 0.2 percent every week beginning April 23 to government support measures and seasonal farming jobs.

Antal's survey showed that pharmaceutical companies in Russia were leading the way in looking for new professional staff, with 83 percent of them offering vacancies, mostly in marketing.

Russian companies feel that their medicines grew more competitive against foreign brands after the ruble devaluation over the winter, Jones said. Multinational drug makers want to hire better staff to promote their products because candidates sharply moderated their compensation demands, he said.

Pharmstandard, a leading Russian pharmaceutical producer, said recently that it would consider buying new brands, products and facilities this year despite the economic downturn.

"The current ruble weakness provides an opportunity for Pharmstandard to gain market share from imported drugs," UBS analyst Svetlana Sukhanova said in a research note Wednesday.

Russian drug makers are also poised to benefit from the government's anti-crisis measures, including one that allows government contracts to be awarded to local producers even if their bids are 15 percent higher than those of foreign rivals.


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