Workforce deficit in Russia reaches nearly five million – report

The unsatisfied demand for workers is stalling economic growth, a researcher says

The Russian economy is suffering from a shortage of skilled labor according to a recent study by Nikolay Akhapkin, a researcher at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Published in the RAS Herald earlier this week, it shows that as of the end of 2023, Russia will be short approximately 4.8 million workers.

Akhapkin observed that the shortage grew sharply over the past two years since the onset of Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict, even though workforce supply, or the number of people already employed, remains stable. Unsatisfied demand for workers has already become a factor slowing economic growth. He noted however, that the severity of the trend differs in various sectors of the economy.

Unemployment levels in Russia hit record lows over the same time span, plunging to 2.9% in October to the lowest level since the early 1990s, according to the country’s statistics service, Rosstat. Experts view the trend as an alarming signal, confirming that the pool of unemployed is rapidly diminishing. Last month, Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina called labor scarcity the main problem facing the economy. Likewise, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov also pointed to the metric as the country’s main internal risk factor.

Staff shortages result in enterprises being unable to produce the required volume of goods and services, which causes a drop in GDP growth rates and accelerates inflation, Aleksandr Safonov, professor of Psychology and Human Capital Development at Russian Financial University, told Izvestia.

READ MORE: Russian unemployment hits historic low – data

He predicted that next year the labor shortage would be especially acute in industries offering low wages, difficult working conditions, and located in remote regions. These include agriculture, housing, and communal services and construction. However, he noted that high-class software specialists, engineers, technologists, machine operators, drivers, and robotics science specialists would still be in great demand.

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