Emotion Gives Way to Calculation on the Job Market

Experts' worst expectations of mass layoffs did not materialize. However, Russians are paying for the jobs saved with reduced incomes.

Russians are less afraid of losing their jobs now than six months or a year ago, say experts at the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (Russian abbreviation VTsIOM) after surveying 1600 people in 46 Russian regions and republics in April. Now, a quarter (25%) of Russians admit to pollsters that they fear losing their jobs. For comparison, 29% of respondents were afraid of losing their jobs a year ago.

Stepan Lvov, head of the monitoring and electoral research department at VTsIOM is not surprised by the data, since only 27% of respondents knew someone who had lost their jobs in recent months. In his opinion, what is paradoxical is that people continue to refer to unemployment among the major problems of society. Perhaps it is the fear associated with the overall poor economic situation — a decline in production amid falling oil prices and international sanctions.

No one without work

According to VTsIOM, 47% of working Russians believe that, if they are dismissed, they will not have serious difficulties finding a new job, while 51% believe that the task would not be easy for them.

According to Rosstat, the army of unemployed in Russia increased by 375,000 to 4,264,000 last year. According to Andrei Korovkin, head of the workforce forecasting laboratory at the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, that is a relatively low level. For comparison, in 2009, at the peak of the crisis, there were 6.3 million people unemployed.

Now, in his opinion, unemployment is at its natural level, and even if it grows to 4.5 million this year, there is no need to worry about serious tension on the labor market. The reason is demography. Even in the current difficult economic situation, there is a shortage of skilled workers.

"Compared to the beginning of the year, the number of jobs on offer in the national database of vacancies has increased by more than 15%," said Vsevolod Vukolov, head of the Federal Labor and Employment Service (Rostrud). In May, the list of vacancies on the Work in Russia portal ( contained 1.29 million job offers, whereas at the beginning of the year there were 1.1 million.

At the end of Q1 2016, there were 12% more vacancies in Moscow than a year ago, said Maria Ignatova, head of the HeadHunter research service. According to her, the greatest increase in vacancies was observed in February and March — demand increased by 14% and 16% compared to the same months last year. Ignatova said that Q1 2016 was the most successful in the past three years for demand for personnel.

Who is getting work

According to Rostrud, medical and construction workers are among the most sought-after today. Russian medical institutions, judging by the state jobs database, need more than 57,000 doctors, nurses and paramedics. In addition to the Work in Russia portal, there are 55,000 jobs for bricklayers, cement workers, plasterers and carpenters. There is a high demand for seamstresses (19,800) and cooks (15,200). The state portal usually focuses on specialized workers, and often on not the most highly paid. Other tendencies can be seen on private recruiting portals.

According Ignatova, the dynamics of demand in 13 professional areas in Q1 2016 was better than the overall labor market in Moscow. Demand for personnel in the field of "Sports clubs, fitness, beauty salons" in Q1 2016 compared to Q1 2015 increased by 43%, in "Arts, entertainment, media" it was up 34%, and in the "Science, education" it was up 36%.

Also, the number of vacancies in areas such as consulting, IT, procurement, HR, transport and logistics, medicine and pharmacy, the automotive business, administrative staffing and marketing and production increased by more than 12% (the rate for the market as a whole) for the year.

The public sector, according to HeadHunter, is still the exception. At the end of Q1 2016, this area had 18% fewer jobs than a year ago. Vacancies for tourism industry staff are down 9%. This is not surprising considering the plane crash in the Egyptian Sinai and the deterioration of political relations with Turkey. The fall in outbound tourist flow from Russia in 2015 was a record for 18 years. Another reason for the decline of the tourism industry is the reduction in Russians' incomes.

Job security instead of a raise

As in the last crisis, many companies are trying to retain valuable employees and not reduce staff in the hope of a market comeback. Reduced working hours, down time, mandatory vacations and skipped wage raises are preferred to layoffs. Thus, while keeping their jobs, people are forced to contend with declining incomes — even the official wage growth last year, for the first time in many years, was lower than the inflation rate. Still, some industries were luckier than others.

According to the research center, last year, salaries in the banking sector increased by 3.4%, construction by 3.2%, marketing and advertising by 3.7%. The record holder in this series is information technology, where wages gained 5.5% on average on the market.

According to the HeadHunter Wage Data Bank, salaries in IT rose even more: 7.8% for the year. In second place is the B2B sector: 3.1%. Third place in the ranking of wage growth is the retail trade with 2.7%. Growth was observed in mining and energy (2.3%) and logistics (1.6%). HeadHunter experts saw reduced salaries in the media (-7.2%) and the automotive business (-3.8%).

According to Rosstat, the highest growth rate in nominal wages last year was in the fishing industry and the lowest in government, military security and social insurance. The highest salary level was in petroleum products production (76,918 rubles — $1165, 2.8 times higher than the national average). In second place was coke production (73,057 rubles — $1106, 2.6 times more than average). The lowest level was in the textile and clothing industry (16,279 rubles — $247, 46% of the average wage), the shoe industry and leather production (17,356 rubles — $263, 51%) and agriculture, hunting and forestry (20,750 rubles — $314, 55%).

With regard to individual professions, according to, the largest increase in the last year was recorded in the job of leading expert in the market risks department for banks (+10%), web designers for IT (+17%), manager of Internet projects (+15%) and information security specialist (+14%). In addition, salaries of product managers in the field of marketing, advertising and PR who changed jobs rose by 14%, construction safety engineer and OT rose by 20% and occupational safety specialists by 19%.