GENERICO.ruEconomicsEconomist Zubets explained why working pensioners are less likely to quit

Economist Zubets explained why working pensioners are less likely to quit

“The size of indexation does not meet expectations”

Over the past year, the number of pensioners registered with the Social Fund of Russia decreased by 700 thousand compared to 2022. The opposite trend is associated with a narrower social category – working pensioners. According to recent SFR data, the rate of decline in their numbers has slowed down dramatically – from 600 thousand to 46 thousand. According to experts, against the backdrop of a personnel shortage, employers are trying to retain as much of the older generation as possible – with invaluable experience and qualifications.

As of January 1, the number of pensioners registered with the SFR amounted to 41.075 million people, having decreased by 1.7% over the year. This indicator does not include recipients of payments in the system of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Investigative Committee and other law enforcement agencies. A special feature of 2023 is a break in the assignment of old-age pensions, in accordance with the pension reform schedule. Before the end of the ten-year transition period, two more similar years are planned – 2025 and 2027. If in 2022 people retired upon reaching 56.5 years (women) and 61.5 years (men), then for 2024 other age limits are provided – 58 and 63, respectively.

There were 7.87 million working pensioners. Moreover, in October-November there was a sharp jump in their number, by 315.8 thousand, compared to the previous quarter. According to the SFR, more than 80% of this increase was provided by recipients of insurance pensions. The authorities also disclosed the average amount of payments for various categories of pensioners, which generally exceeded last year's inflation of 7.4%. Thus, the old-age pension increased by 8%, to 22.4 thousand rubles; disability pension – by 8.5%, to 13.6 thousand; payments for the loss of a breadwinner – by 9.3%, to 14.9 thousand. The exception was social pensions, which fell far short of inflation. They were indexed by only 3.2%, to 12.5 thousand rubles.

The most interesting in all these statistics are the figures reflecting the situation with working pensioners. In recent years, the rate of decline in their numbers has been quite high. But 2023 (more precisely, the fourth quarter with its significant growth) seems to have become a turning point. What happened? We addressed the question to Alexey Zubts, professor at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation.

– The explanation is quite simple: working pensioners have become less likely to quit. People see how much the state indexes their payments in real terms and say to themselves: it’s better to continue working. In other words, reality does not live up to expectations: the level of well-being of recipients is not growing as quickly as they would like. As for the situation with the fourth quarter of 2023, I think that for some Russians the retirement date approached in October-December, but many did not take advantage of this. It is much easier for a person to stay employed than to quit and then try to return to his previous position.

-20 thousand is already the poverty line, and this is clearly less than what is needed for a normal life in retirement. It requires about 40-45 thousand rubles: this order of numbers, comparable to the median salary, is heard in opinion polls. We are talking about a minimum level of well-being: people should have money not only for food, but also to satisfy cultural needs – go to the theater, buy a book, go on an excursion. In a good way, pensions need to be increased at least twice. Yes, formally they are growing above inflation of 7.4%, but only by half a percentage point. And this is absolutely not enough to feel comfortable.

-This is not entirely true. Indeed, employers hold on to those with certain professional skills and knowledge who end their working career. In the pre-retirement group (up to 65 years of age), unemployment is the lowest – about 1.5%. On the other hand, if a person finds himself “on the street” at that age, it will be extremely difficult for him to find a new place. There is a shortage of personnel in Russia, but in fairly narrow segments. These are blue-collar professions (mechanics, machine operators), these are drivers, warehouse workers and, perhaps, everyone… And there is no shortage of specialties for a wide range of specialties. In a number of categories (for example, accountants), there was and remains a surplus of labor. The total shortage of personnel that allegedly engulfed the Russian economy is a myth that is floating around the information space.

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