Russia's job market boosted by new hires at lower pay - Sberbank

Healthcare

Reuters Staff

MOSCOW, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Russia’s labour market is seeing a gradual recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic because people are being hired at lower salaries, Sberbank , the country’s largest lender, said on Monday.

Russia’s decision to impose lockdowns in late March to curb the coronavirus led to an uptick in unemployment, while hitting the rouble and prompting the central bank to cut interest rates to prop up the economy.

Analysts from SberIndex, Sberbank’s statistics unit, said overall gross payrolls fell in August by 1.1% compared with early 2020, a much smaller decline than the 7.6% decline seen in May.

“The labour market is reviving due to workers being hired at lower wages,” the analysts said.

Sberbank data showed that nominal wage growth in August stood at 4.2% year-on-year, marginally above inflation and far slower than pre-pandemic growth of near 10%.

Healthcare was the only sector to see consistent wage growth in 2020, the data showed, with salaries increasing 13.7% more than the trend level, reflecting the strong demand for medical workers as the pandemic took hold.

Russia’s central bank estimates that real wages in Russia will increase by an average of around 1.5-2.5% in 2020.