Staunton, Dec. 15 – Even before Putin announced his expanded invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russian firms in many sectors of the economy were saying that they faced difficulties in finding workers of all kinds (nakanune.ru/articles/118331/). Now, the situation is even worse, although there have been fewer complaints and less attention to this issue.
According to Elena Rychkova of the Nakanune news agency, what attention there has been to this problem in recent months has focused almost exclusively on IT professionals who have left the country in droves, but while they are important for high tech industries, their share of total employment is relatively small (nakanune.ru/articles/120007/).
More serious are the shortages of workers to fill jobs requiring less training. Both the demands for men to fight in Ukraine and the reduction in the number of immigrant workers have hit such sectors hard, sectors that in an economy like Russia’s are far more important than the IT portion.
The situation is likely to become even worse in the coming months if the Kremlin pushes import substitution because that will require employing people in jobs that previously did not exist, inevitably pulling people from other sectors and leaving them with shortages and rising pressure on wages.
To the extent that happens, what is currently an increasingly serious economic problem across the economy could become a political challenge for the Putin regime, yet another way Putin’s war in Ukraine has exacerbated rather than simply caused Russia’s current difficulties, Rychkova suggests.