From unemployment to staff shortage: how pandemic affects labour market
Why young people are in no hurry to work in an office and what support measures are needed to mitigate the effects of coronavirus restrictions
How is the pandemic affecting the labour market and unemployment? Have businesses recovered after the lockdown 2020 and does whether they have a chance to survive the current year without losses? These and other issues were discussed by the participants of a regular meeting of Volga Expert Club. Political expert, deputies, representatives of industrial enterprises, and authorities took part in the discussion. The meeting was held online and offline, everyone had the opportunity to ask questions. Among the listeners, there was a correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.
“The situation in Tatarstan is less nervous in relation to vaccination”
For more than a year, the world has been living in a new reality — in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, there was an outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, in March, the insidious disease was first recorded in Russia. Over this time, more than 5,9 million people fell ill in our country, 146,000 of them could not be saved. Currently, the number of cases continues to grow steadily. According to Mikhail Vinogradov, the president of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, the third wave of coronavirus is associated with the fatigue of society from the topic of Covid-19. He also said that he himself had been ill and had already been vaccinated.
“The society accepts the situation more weakly. The fear of the illness has decreased, especially in the spring. But I would like to note that there was no collapse in the labour market. Yes, employment was declining, someone lost their business and job, but it was not on a huge scale. There was no mass of applicants. In the regions, the situation has not got out of control. There are also positive aspects. People are monitoring the situation now. They want to know more about Covid-19 for the last two or three weeks, despite their fatigue," he stressed.
According to Vinogradov, the society is now divided into several groups. Some have been vaccinated but regret that the wrong drug, others do not believe in the pandemic.
“The most disturbing thing is the general trend. We are conducting a study about the apathy of public opinion, which can turn into panic. The second problem is the uncertainty of the decision-makers. Priorities are changing every few weeks, and people feel it. The situation in Tatarstan is less nervous in relation to vaccination. The obvious problem is the failure of vaccination from January to May. In my opinion, the logical measures are clearer protocols for those who have been ill and the active launch of Sputnik Lite to create collective immunity. Another key task is emotional empathy on the part of the authorities. It should be mitigated at the municipal level," the political expert stressed.
“Large-scale changes have occurred in the labour legislation”
According to experts, the pandemic has affected the labour market and global processes. The service sector, youth and labour migration have been particularly affected. As Deputy of the State Duma Olga Pavlova noted, the coronavirus launched the law on remote work, in which the rules of the game and support measures for employees were developed.
“Large-scale changes have taken place in the labour legislation, which has not changed globally for 30 years. We consider the employment law to be revolutionary. Today, a person seeking a job is not tied to the place of residence. We have expanded support measures for young professionals from 18 to 25 years old, made progress for the employment of disabled people. Women on maternity leave can retrain. And migration should be considered in the sectoral and regional context. Employees can live in one region and work in another," Pavlova concluded.
The moderator of the meeting reminded that in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, the number of unemployed people in the country increased by one million people. He asked the mayor of Nizhnekamsk, Aydar Metshin, what support measures were taken in the petrochemical capital of Tatarstan, and how effective they were.
“Nizhnekamsk is the industrial centre of Tatarstan and Russia. We observed the stability that has been formed thanks to large enterprises. Every second family works in the industry, and this is a serious safety cushion. We did not feel the unemployment level so acutely. If we talk in figures, it is only 0,8%. Now we have a great demand in various sectors: industry, public sector, and service sector. We regularly hold strategic sessions and work out solutions to this important issue. This trend will increase. The issue of the labour market will be updated," Metshin stressed.
The mayor said that the Nizhnekamsk authorities planned to create 100% collective immunity. Two hundred and eleven thousand residents of the city and district are to be vaccinated, not counting the younger generation. So far, only 51% of the population has been vaccinated.
“It is important to establish a dialogue between society and the authorities, to find words for everyone”
State Duma Deputy Oleg Morozov assumed that another wave of coronavirus awaits Russian residents in September. Only mass vaccination will save the country from the economic crisis, and people from the disease.
“There is one key problem that we need to understand and comprehend. If our society is still in the pandemic situation, we will constantly look for answers to new challenges. The need for support measures will increase. In the autumn, we will face a new peak, we will deploy new beds, look for support measures. How much can the economy and the country withstand this? Trust in the authorities is falling. A panicked attitude to what is happening is growing. There is only one solution — a way out of the pandemic. One of the measures is vaccination. It is important to establish a dialogue between society and the authorities, to find words for everyone. And then we will live in a different economy," Morozov stressed.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Klara Tazetdinova told about why it is necessary to vaccinate workers in key sectors of Russia. Let us remind that now employers can suspend unvaccinated employees from their duties.
“These measures are not taken for everyone. Each subject can choose an important industry for the economy. A total of 31 subjects have adopted the documents. A number of industries are subject to mandatory vaccination. These are industries where there is a high risk of infection — transport, healthcare, catering and others. The Republic of Tatarstan has not yet made such a decision, but the issue of vaccination is under the control of the authorities," Klara Tazetdinova stressed.
Speaking about the labour market, Klara Tazetdinova noted that at the beginning of last year 10,000 unemployed people were registered in Tatarstan, as of 1 September, 2020, the number of job seekers increased eight times, to 79,000 people.
“These were young people, self-employed, representatives of small businesses, as well as those who worked informally. Grey employment gave a surge. Eighty percent are not employees of enterprises who were dismissed. The state has decided to pay benefits to support businesses and the population. We began to observe an increase in vacancies. We finished the year with 24,000. Today we are talking about personnel shortage. We are sorely short of personnel. Many are ready to reduce their income, work remotely, so that there is comfort, time for personal life. Young people today are not ready to work in an office, but they want to spend more time for self-development," Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Klara Tazetdinova said confidently.
In conclusion, she noted that the labour market is going to change, some professions will disappear at all. According to her, the pandemic has shown that only a person who is ready to learn something new, ready for change will live and work, despite everything.