Programmers get only 2.5 times more than a collective farmer

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The average salary in Belarus in January-May this year amounts Br686,000 ($300). More than 40 percent of the population are paid an average of not more than Br300,000 per capita. The European Radio for Belarus explores who gets the most and the least in this country.

The list of those who have the best paid jobs includes workers in the petrochemical sector, IT specialists, public servants and top managers, getting over Br1 million.

In a private conversation with a programmer from a large IT companies in Minsk, the European Radio for Belarus has learned that he earns enough to go out to a good restaurant or a bowling club every week. But he has to save in order to buy a car or an apartment.

Katsiaryna Vechar, the director of the Success Secret human resources agency, refused to reveal the top job salaries.

“Financial managers, chief accountants are in great demand and are paid well. Marketing directors, financial directors make good money, i.e. the people who decisions influence on the efficiency and financial success of companies,” she said.

But according to the Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi, financial directors and regional sales managers earned the biggest salaries ($1000-2500) in Minsk in 2006.

Construction workers are in the middle of the list of salaries in Belarus. The database of the Minsk Employment Center is overfilled with job vacancies for builders. Ina Siamionava, the center’s spokeswoman, says they can currently offer around 350 vacancies for painters, with a pay of Br700-800K which is higher than the average level across the country.

The lowest salaries are in the apparel industry, agriculture, healthcare, education and culture.

Lena who works as an accountant at the Museum of Culture and History of Belarus told a ERB correspondent that their staff get an average of Br500K ($250). She earns Br400K. She is going to work for one more month and then she will look for a better job. She lives together with her parents who pay for all the utilities bills.

“I try to save. It is still enough to buy clothes, but nothing is left for vacations,” she said.

Her colleagues normally spend their holidays inside Belarus, either in a village or at dachas. But they definitely cannot afford flying to Egypt or Europe for their vacations.

“Technical staff (janitors, etc.) earn around Br250K. My deputy in charge of entertainment activities receives Br500K. Myself, being a director, I naturally get slightly more up to Br600K,” says the director of a culture center in Smargon.

“As for vacations, I normally send my children to summer camps,” she adds.

A worker at the Avangard collective farm in the Mahiliou region told our radio that last year she managed to spend her vacations in Crimea.

“I am paid an average of Br400-500K monthly. It is hard to survive with this money. If two people in our family could make Br500K each, it would be possible to buy something. But when you work alone for three persons in the family, it makes things harder. I was not able to buy new clothes, but I helped my daughter get an apartment,” she said.

Statistics show that 50 percent of household income is spent on food and utilities bills.

Average salaries in Belarus in May 2007

Sector

Salaries, Br .000

Workers and servants

705

Industry:

763

- Energy

909

- Petrochemical, oil-processing

1432

- Steel

1235

- Chemicals

1119

- Machine-biulding

762

- Apparel

471

- Medical

773

Agriculture

422

Transport

811

Communication

755

Construction

873

Trade and catering

559

ITsector

1085

Housing and communal services

653

Healthcare

589

Education

544

Culture

552

Science

885

Total

686