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Russian Factories Face Record Labor Shortages

A machine building factory floor in the Moscow region. Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russia’s industrial worker shortage reached a new high last month, the RBC news website reported Thursday, citing a survey by the Yegor Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy.

The survey found that 42% of Russian industrial enterprises faced a shortage of workers in July, surpassing April’s record-setting shortage of 35%, according to the same survey of around 1,000 enterprises.

RBC noted that the share of companies with plans to hire employees has grown since September 2022, when President Vladimir Putin launched a mobilization campaign to make up for a manpower deficit in Ukraine.

“In the context of a record shortage of employees, hiring plans demonstrate enterprises’ growing desire to overcome personnel shortages,” RBC quotes the Gaidar Institute’s report as saying.

“But these plans almost certainly don’t reflect the true extent [of the hiring needs] of enterprises, which are forced to deal with limited opportunities of the Russian labor market,” it added.

Only 2% of the surveyed enterprises said they were overstaffed, with RBC noting that the stark shortage-to-surplus of workers ratio represents the widest margin in the past 28 years.

According to an April survey by Russia's Central Bank, in the first quarter of 2023, worker shortages in Russia reached their highest level since records began in 1998. 

The most acute shortage of personnel according to the Central Bank survey was observed in manufacturing, industrial, mining and transportation.

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