Poor working conditions force Belarusians to leave country

Belarusians don't want to fill in the holes in the labor market because of poor working conditions / pexels.com​
Belarusians don't want to fill in the holes in the labor market because of poor working conditions / pexels.com​

Migration, political purges at state enterprises, the aging of people, and the lack of investment are destroying the labor market. All this is leading Belarus into crisis, experts say.

Euroradio has learned what personnel is missing in Belarus and why Belarusians do not hurry to close the staff shortage in case of large-scale layoffs in 2021.

Health workers are both sought and actively dismissed

“Не рынок труда, а принуждение”: на работу идут от отчаяния или мигрируют
The healthcare system lost about 2.4 thousand workers in 2021 / Euroradio

According to Belstat, the number of employees in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 2.3% less than a year earlier. One hundred sixteen thousand potential workers were missing.

The national vacancies bank has 97.3 thousand offers but only 5.9 thousand resumes. Of all the vacancies, only 26.6 thousand offer a salary of 1,000 Belarusian rubles.

Drivers, medical specialists, nurses, janitors, tractor drivers in the agricultural field are in the highest demand. Accountants, economists, legal advisers, drivers, and engineers are looking for jobs.

With a labor shortage in 2021, there were many more layoffs than in previous years. There were 72.5 thousand more people laid off than hired, Belstat reports. In 2020, there were also more dismissals. The increase was 45.8 thousand. And in 2019, it was 46.2 thousand.

“Не рынок труда, а принуждение”: на работу идут от отчаяния или мигрируют
Ideological purges often put good professionals out of work / pexels.com

Where could 72,500 specialists have disappeared, and why aren't they closing the staffing gap? Some of these people have retired, many have gone abroad. 

"Migration can be partly called political," says economist Leu Marholin. "But many who have good specialties and skills understand that they can sell their labor abroad for much higher prices."

Some people would like to work here, but the hundreds throw them out for political reasons. Usually, these are people who are concerned about the situation in the country, people who are usually more educated and responsible.

In Lithuania alone, more than 7 thousand Belarusians received work permits in 2021.

"Apparently, there are other reasons for the problems in the labor market. It is not entirely clear why all of a sudden there is a shortage of janitors, for example. There is no need for excellent qualifications, but the salaries offered do not suit people. But the problems with the economy's growth are, of course, related to highly qualified specialists.

"People choose migration or gray earnings"

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is more difficult for the private sector to hire personnel dismissed from government agencies because of the unfavorable conditions for business. Due to higher taxes, it is also becoming less profitable for people to open a sole proprietorship or become self-employed. This encourages people to seek better conditions abroad.

“Не рынок труда, а принуждение”: на работу идут от отчаяния или мигрируют
From 2022, many entrepreneurs can't use the simplified taxation system and have to pay much more taxes / pexels.com

"Our tax agency is making things worse for individual entrepreneurs every year. The country's current leader has long dreamed of shaking the hand of the last entrepreneur. And today, everything is being done to achieve this," says Leu Marholin.

Despite the layoffs, Belstat reports a decrease in unemployment to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with 4.1% a year earlier. According to Leu Marholin, the real unemployment rate may be much higher. People don't register at job centers because of the bad conditions the government offers.

"Will you go to register as unemployed, knowing that you will have to work a few days a month instead of a janitor to be paid 28 or 30 rubles a month? I don't think you will. This is why the number of unemployed people is officially decreasing, although there are a lot more of them in reality.

Another blow to the labor market is the lack of investment, says economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk. The government does not have enough money to invest in creating attractive jobs. Moreover, even the infusion of money into specific areas usually does not bring any success. Businesses have little interest in investing in worsening conditions.

It is tough to find good jobs in the regions.

“Не рынок труда, а принуждение”: на работу идут от отчаяния или мигрируют
No reasons for the Belarusians to stop going abroad to work / Euroradio

Given that the demand for personnel is growing in Germany, Poland, the USA, and other countries, the migration will continue, says Ramanchuk. The Belarusian economy will fall. After all, there is no previous demand for raw materials.

"We can't say that any new sources of growth will appear. The assets of potash fertilizers, oil products, metals will go into the hands of the Russians because no one will be able to manage them inside the country in such a mode. This is the final stage of rotting military communism".

How long it will last depends on how many people are left. When the grandchildren say to the nomenklatura-power bosses: "Grandpa or grandma, I don't want to live in your kolkhoz or barracks. In my opinion, they [the authorities] haven't been motivated to change anything else for a long time".

According to Leu Marholin, the Belarusian economy will face stagnation in the best-case scenario, and there will be an economic crisis at worst.

To follow important news, subscribe to the Euroradio channel on Telegram.

Every day we publish videos about life in Belarus on our YouTube channel. You can subscribe here.