The analysis of the labor market of the eastern regions of Ukraine allowed to establish some tendencies of changes in its characteristics. These changes are due to both the transformation of the country’s socio-economic system and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost unchanged leader in the number of vacancies from 2017 to the present is the group of specialties «Entrepreneurship, Trade and Exchange Activities» and «Management». The share of vacancies in these specialties reaches almost 50 %. Their leadership, according to the author, is due: firstly, the rapid growth of services in the country in contrast to the manufacturing sector, and secondly, a wide range of positions that can hold professionals in these specialties. Moreover, sometimes it is extremely difficult to determine the priority of each of them in relation to a particular position, because the required personal and professional competencies are similar in content. The 2020–2021 pandemic did not affect the share of vacancies in these specialties.
However, these specialties are not properly assessed by entrants and their parents, both in eastern Ukraine and in the country as a whole. The share of applications for these specialties is much lower than the share of vacancies.
As expected, invariably firm positions in the labor market are occupied by specialties under the general name «information technology», these include specialties: «computer science», «managing information systems and technologies», «cybersecurity», «software engineering». The share of vacancies in these specialties reaches 11 %. However, these specialties are significantly overestimated by entrants, both in the east and in Ukraine as a whole. Moreover, there is a significant increase in the share of applications for these specialties during the pandemic, due to the peculiarities of the work of specialists in these specialties (the ability to work remotely). In 2021, the requirements of employers for job applicants with 3 or more years of work experience have significantly decreased in these specialties. Such changes are also characteristic of the group of specialties «marketing, advertising and PR, media communications».
In general, studies have shown the possibility of quantifying the dynamics of both the labor market and the popularity of specialties among applicants. This analysis allows employers and university management to reasonably adjust their own marketing strategy to attract the most talented young people to relevant specialties. On the other hand, such an analysis allows applicants to make informed decisions about the choice of specialties.
One of the fundamental problems of the higher education system is the selection of entrants who not only have the necessary and sufficient abilities to master and use a certain range of knowledge, but also the necessary qualities for successful work after graduation.
The introduction in Ukraine of a system of enrollment in free economic education according to the scores of external independent evaluation of learning outcomes and the distribution of the state order between HEIs on the basis of national competition allowed: to eliminate suspicions of biased entrance exams; to restore children’s faith in justice, to adjust them to the development of their lives by their own work, and not to find ways to obtain inflated grades; to form in parents the desire to provide children with quality education, rather than overestimation; significantly reduce the impact of administrative intervention in the process of assessing students’ knowledge.