Ukraine lacks workers: restaurant owners wash the dishes themselves, — Vloomberg


In Ukraine, there is a shortage of labor force against the background of increased mobilization. This problem, as the journalists emphasize, gives Russia and its huge resources an advantage.

The same manpower drain that has weakened Ukrainian forces fending off Russian onslaught on the battlefield is also reducing the productivity of the war-torn country’s factories, construction sites, mines and catering establishments. About this it is said in the material of the Bloomberg publication.

The lack of labor has become one of the main problems of companies trying to hire employees, as their search takes more and more energy from managers. Although during the war, wages exceeded the level that existed before the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Law on mobilization, which entered into force in May, aimed at replenishing the military ranks of Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of servicemen. However, the lack of able-bodied men and women becomes a burden for large and small enterprises that form the basis of the wartime economy.

Nikolaychuk said that the collapse of economic production, compared to 2021, is associated with a reduction in the labor force by approximately 27%, if we start from the pre-war level. In addition to the estimated 6 million who have fled the war, the vacuum is compounded by men who have disappeared into the shadow economy of undocumented workers who evade conscription.

This is a political problem that cannot be solved with allies supplying ammunition and air defenses. Labor is a problem that gives Russia and its vast resources an advantage.

Wages have increased

The result of a labor shortage is rising wages as employers raise benefits to retain the remaining workers. Although inflation has fallen to almost 3% compared to 27% at the post-invasion peak. The NBU mentioned this phenomenon in its inflation report, expecting inflation-adjusted wages to exceed pre-war levels next year.

Volodymyr Landa, a senior economist at the Kyiv-based Center for Economic Strategies, said the government should keep an eye on the needs of business even as it grows its military.

“The reason is simple: Ukraine does not have enough funds to significantly increase its troops,” said Landa.

Mobilization legislation gives businesses deemed critical to the economy the ability to retain staff, allowing companies to reserve up to 50% of their male employees.

But ordinary Ukrainians feel the problem. The Kyiv metro system said that soon fewer trains will run, as migration and conscription have caused a “significant shortage” of workers, which is expected to worsen as more employees join the military. Mykolaiv, a southern city not far from the front line, reduced bus service due to the mobilization of drivers, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said.

For Hilarion Sauk, a co-owner of several restaurants in Kyiv, the personnel issue was at the top of his list of problems. First and foremost is the lack of staff for jobs such as cooking and cleaning, many of which were filled by women who had fled the country.

Another was conscription, which reduced the staff by about a tenth. According to him, many men do not dare to work far from home because of TCC patrols.

“Sometimes the owners have to wash the dishes themselves,” Sauk said in an interview.

Yuliya Kuzenkova, project manager of the Kyiv-based recruiting agency Resorcer, says that companies are increasingly hiring women for positions previously held by men, for example, in the mining industry, inviting students or hiring foreign staff, in particular migrants from Turkey.

“Companies emphasize either the training and development of existing personnel, or the hiring of students,” said Kuzenkova.

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