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23 Aug, 2021 11:43

Salaries for migrant workers in Russia on the rise as Covid-19 restrictions keep low-skilled potential employees out of country

Salaries for migrant workers in Russia on the rise as Covid-19 restrictions keep low-skilled potential employees out of country

A shortage of foreign workers in Russia in the first half of 2021 has led to a boost in the average salary of low-skilled employees, with migrants from Central Asia staying on in their home countries during the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s according to Moscow daily RBK, citing a study from the popular Headhunter job-seeking portal, which revealed a sharp increase in job vacancies, with specific sectors like housing, utilities, agriculture, and transport suffering from severe shortages. This has led to migrant workers asking for around 15% more than in 2020, the research revealed.

In certain sectors, wages have jumped even further, with tile makers seeing the most significant increase, at 40%.

The study analyzed 165,000 CVs of applicants from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, posted on the website in the first half of 2020 and 2021.

According to Natalia Danina, the director of Headhunter’s Analytical Business Solutions Department, competition for each job has decreased significantly because migrants went home and have not yet come back to Russia.

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“The first wave of the pandemic led to a decrease in migration growth – workers from Central Asian countries began to return home en masse,” she explained. “As we can see from the dynamics of CVs [on the website], there is not even a sign of reversing this trend in Summer 2021.”

The newly released stats come four months after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media that Russia’s plans for development have been severely hampered by a lack of workers.

“I can only state the reality that there have been very few migrants in our country over the past year, and we really, really lack these migrants for the implementation of ambitious plans,” he said in April.

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Before the pandemic, Russian companies employed millions of foreign workers in mainly low-skilled and low-wage jobs. Most of the employees come from former Soviet republics, such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

“We need to build more than we are building now,” Peskov said. “But we need workers for that. There are fewer of them because of the pandemic.”

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