Expert survey of "Novye Izvestia": how sanctions affect the labor market in Russia

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Expert survey of "Novye Izvestia": how sanctions affect the labor market in Russia
Expert survey of "Novye Izvestia": how sanctions affect the labor market in Russia
25 April, 15:47EconomyPhoto: finexpertiza.ru
The economy and business climate in Russia is changing daily, with new sanctions packages adding insult to injury. According to official data, GDP is expected to decline by 8%, inflation - within 20%.

Actual figures may be different. The labor market is inevitably changing. What are the key "personnel issues" in the sanctions reality.

Yulia Suntsova, Natalya Seybil

"NI" talked about this with recruiters, HR-specialists, career consultants.

The demand for vacancies is growing, the supply is falling. The number of resumes submitted from the beginning of 2022 to April 10 increased by a quarter (+ 26%), while the number of vacancies in the same period decreased by 13%. This alignment will continue in the near future, experts believe. This will make people hold on tighter to their seats. In times of turbulence, most people choose the tit-in-hand strategy.

"There are fewer vacancies, a drop of 13% compared to the beginning of the year. According to the submitted resumes - the reverse process - an increase of 25%. Over the past three or four weeks, statistics have frozen in these proportions. Prior to that, the decline had continued since the beginning of March for several weeks in a row. The figures are alarming, but not yet critical. Of course, due to the imbalance between resumes and employers' offers, competition between candidates is intensifying. Over the past month, we have jumped from 4 people per position to almost 6. This is a fairly large number", - says Maria Ignatova, Head of Research at HeadHunter.

Who suffered the most

"The biggest problems now are in the manufacturing industries, including engineering. When there is no way to replace imported components, how will people continue to work? People will sit mostly not part-time. Big risks in numerous services sector. There is no understanding here what support measures will work, how much they will cover inflation, and incomes are falling. Secondly, there are fewer and fewer products on the market. There is food, but food items are declining. That the service sector will shrink is certain. They cannot switch to part -time employment", - says economic geographer, professor at Moscow State University Natalya Zubarevich.

A rather serious decrease in the number of vacancies for logisticians, procurement specialists, administrative staff, and insurers. In industry, metallurgy are moving to part-time employment. The demand for specialists who specialize in finding specialists has also fallen significantly - these are personnel services, HR.

"Aviation is a very big threat. Part of the flight crew will lose their jobs. But the need for technical staff will increase, which should ensure the conservation of the air fleet", - says Tatiana Abankina, professor, director of the Center for Creative Economy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

In tourism, the decline is within 20-40%. Reorientation to domestic tourism can objectively rectify the situation. During the pandemic period, it has grown, there are high chances that it will grow even now - people have nowhere to go, and they will spend money on holidays in Russia.

It is difficult for the top management - business owners, directors, top managers. It is always more difficult for them to look for a job, the average time to find a new place is six months. The current situation with the suspension of the activities of many foreign and domestic companies lengthens this period. Intensified competition becomes an additional obstacle.

"The companies that suspended their activities in Russia, for the most part, did not announce their complete resignation and did not fire their employees, including top management. Employees in one form or another are registered in the states, continue to receive a salary, but this provision is valid until May 31, but what will happen after is the question. The market has really become turbulent. Companies right now seem to be afloat, but many projects will end by the summer, by inertia, and then it will be necessary to start a new stage in the face of sanctions. Then the picture will be clear in all its depth. Yes, people who find themselves in limbo respond to offers. We see growth, resumes are updated every fourth. But this is more like a probing of the market, its demand on it, more like an emotional reaction provoked by a state of intense expectation", - emphasizes the representative of "Headhunter".

"There will be fewer top vacancies for the reason that the market is hung in anticipation. Employers do not want to make sudden moves and fire those who are. Now they are revising development strategies with an eye to sanctions, new logistics and the nuances of international cooperation. The key question for everyone is will stabilization come or will we always live like this now?", - comments on recruiting expert, career consultant Ilgiz Valinurov:

"Just today I had two meetings - Zara and Ikea, for example, although they announced their departure, they continue to work. My feeling is that at least 50% of companies that have announced their exit will return within a year if geopolitical tensions are resolved. They are still keeping their top managers for this positive scenario. It is impossible to say that a large number of managers have appeared on the market, there are no mass layoffs yet. Another situation - the largest brewing company in the world AB InBev announced that it was leaving Russia. But factories cannot be stopped overnight, so the salaries of employees continue to be paid. In parallel with the completion of production cycles, the redistribution of property begins. The business can be resold to private investors, competitors - and here the enterprise is not closed and not nationalized, but the usual sale of assets. Often the management teams of these enterprises, albeit with some personnel changes, go to work for new owners", - the expert explains.

A painful trend is the loss of the knowledge business. Analytics, consulting, finance, IT are leaving. The departed foreign companies took a small part of the Russian specialists with them. But most of the rest are now out of the competitive field, which automatically cuts off these employees from being embedded in a system with dynamically developing technologies and skills.

"Specialists with the highest human capital are released. This is the most mobile group in terms of job search and finds itself in a world of collapsing opportunities. It will be very difficult for them. Yes, I support it - the main burden of this crisis will fall on the shoulders of the middle class. Low-income families receive state support. Families with an average income will have to solve their problems on their own", - says Tatyana Abankina.

State-owned companies both in megacities and in small towns still remain "islands of safety" where they go for stability. The salary is modest, as before, but social guarantees are ironclad.

"It is difficult to say where it is safer and where it is less. Indeed, state employees, civil servants, state administrators, perhaps even agricultural workers are less vulnerable to crisis phenomena. And production, and trade, and construction, and transport, and tourism, obviously, will suffer more. The mechanisms of influence on obtaining support are fundamentally different", - says Professor, Leading Research Fellow, Director of the Center for Labor Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics Vladimir Gimpelson.

According to a survey conducted by the Zarplaty.ru research center, 44% of specialists currently engaged in intellectual work are ready to take up manual labor and master a working specialty in the event of a job loss.

"Doesn't look like the truth. Physical labor, of course, is always in demand - drivers, loaders, builders, laborers, bakers. But you need to understand that in order for an intellectual worker to turn into a worker at a factory, he doesn’t care at least a little, but he needs to learn. Whether he is ready to be retrained as a worker is a big question. I strongly doubt it. Intellectual work is paid higher and there are more opportunities, and the contingent of communication is completely different. Today lawyers, accountants, journalists, IT specialists can work from anywhere in the world - will they go to the machine? Unless for the sake of experiment, downshifting and not for long, and not so that to leave the profession for the sake of it", - says Ilgiz Valinurov.

At the same time, the proportion of those who, for the sake of guaranteed employment, are ready to lower their salary expectations has increased significantly. Since February, the figure has grown from 25-35% to 45%. But people are ready for these changes in the space of their own working positions. The reorientation to the working professions of people of intellectual labor may loom in a separate perspective, it all depends on how many people will be free in the market, experts emphasize.

We received a question from our readers on the topic. Can the demographic pit, which was growing even before the special operation, somehow compensate for another problem that has arisen - unemployment caused by sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign companies from Russia and the economic downturn in general?

Independent demographer Alexey Raksha answers:

- How does the current demographics affect unemployment? The urgent outflow of both highly skilled and foreign labor and the entry into the working age of small generations of zero years of birth, of course, lower the unemployment rate in the country. But the increase in the retirement age and the influx of refugees from Ukraine increase the unemployment rate. In general, the sad economic situation outweighs all these factors.

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