GENERICO.ruEconomicsThe average median salary in Russia has been named: growth over the year - 12%

The average median salary in Russia has been named: growth over the year – 12%

Professor Zubets: “Employers both lured away workers and will continue to do so”

The shortage of personnel, which has affected almost all sectors of the Russian economy, continues to have a decisive impact on the level of wages. Compared to the first quarter of last year, the median salary offered by employers increased by almost a third – from 51 thousand to 64.2 thousand rubles. The trend is outwardly benign, but I would like to understand: how long will it last, given that companies’ resources are not unlimited? Especially for those who are not financed directly from the budget.

Professor Zubets: “Employers lured away workers and will continue to do so

In job vacancies posted in March, employers quoted amounts that were 12.7% higher than in January. The main reason is the shortage of workers in 70% of companies, and as early as July 2023, 56% of representatives of the corporate sector faced this problem, the Central Bank notes in a report on the regional economy. The most noticeable increase in proposed salaries is in the field of transport (doubling, up to 94 thousand rubles), construction (1.5 times, up to 69 thousand) and in manufacturing (+24%, up to 80 thousand). We are talking about the median, and not the average value: in half of the vacancies the income offered is less than the above-mentioned 64.2 thousand rubles, and in the other half it is more. This method of calculation is considered more representative and accurate.

According to recruiting agency analysts, the labor market is mainly in demand for engineers and technical workers (E&T) of medium and high qualifications, as well as drivers and specialists in the field of sales and service – this is every fifth vacancy. Among the most popular low-skilled professions, the biggest winners were couriers, whose average salary in 2023 increased by 30–40%, to 100 thousand rubles. State-owned enterprises are still actively recruiting personnel, which is due to the launch of a large number of projects, including import substitution and in the defense sector.

“The upward salary trend will last at least until the end of 2024,” says Alexei Zubets, a professor at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. The problems in the labor market are far from being resolved, the shortage of personnel will not go away, employers have both poached workers and will continue to do so. Salaries will grow in mechanical engineering and in the military-industrial complex, plus quite a lot of budget money is going towards the salaries of SVO participants. If, say, a person from the Chita region can go to the Northern Military District zone for 200 thousand per month under a contract, he will never agree to 20 thousand in civilian life. This is an important driver of overall salary dynamics.

In addition, according to the expert, the flow of personnel between sectors is increasing, which indicates a weakening of intersectoral barriers. “Since the employer prefers to have qualified specialists, he is ready to invest in training and retraining of those who came to him from another profession,” says the specialist.

Of course, not everyone today has the opportunity to exist and function at the expense of the state treasury. Private companies are forced to increase prices for their products and services in order to improve salary conditions. In turn, rising costs in tandem with rising wages leads to increased inflation, which is extremely worrying for the Central Bank. And it’s really bad, the regulator notes, that the process is not accompanied by an increase in labor productivity. In this regard, the professor points out the high degree of responsibility for the current situation of the Central Bank itself: with a high, and essentially prohibitive key rate of 16%, no one in Russia will invest in new equipment, technologies, machines, mechanisms. In a word, everything that makes up the growth of labor productivity.

“The March median salary of 64.2 thousand rubles fully corresponds to the real state of affairs in the economy,” notes Sergei Smirnov, leading researcher at INION RAS. In general, it is consistent with the average salary in the 4th quarter of 2023, which, according to official data, amounted to 64.4 thousand rubles. A year earlier there were 49 thousand. These figures can be compared with a fixed set of goods and services approved by Rosstat. There are 81 positions. So, the ratio of the average salary to the cost of the consumer basket increased from 2.55 times (at the end of 2022) to 2.91 (at the end of 2023).

“However, if we look at the plot from a regional perspective, huge differentiation emerges,” says Smirnov. The average salary in Moscow is 136 thousand, and in the Republic of Crimea – 36 thousand, in Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Mordovia – 32 thousand each. A serious imbalance is also observed by type of economic activity. Oil and gas industry workers receive an average of 130 thousand rubles; for example, in 2023 this was the salary in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. And it is still unclear how long the state will find money to support industrial and raw materials production. In an environment where sanctions are being tightened and the economy is still overheated, I would be wary of making even medium-term forecasts.


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