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A unique situation. Why is there an acute shortage of personnel in Ukraine and where have all the specialists gone?

Due to refugees leaving for other countries, mobilization and other factors of the war, the labor market in Ukraine is going through some difficult changes. There is a shortage of personnel in almost all industries. Experts say that during the war, a unique situation has arisen where a fairly high unemployment rate is combined with a shortage of people. In a commentary to RBC-Ukraine, experts told about the areas where there is a shortage of specialists, why this problem has arisen, and whether salaries are growing during the war.

In which industries is there an acute shortage of workers?

The short answer is in almost all of them, except for IT. The full-scale invasion has significantly affected the labor market in Ukraine. In March 2022, the number of vacancies decreased by 10 times. At the same time, competition among job seekers increased 7.5 times. Recruiters received dozens of responses from candidates.

However, over the two years of full-scale war, the labor market has gone from a shortage of jobs to a shortage of personnel. Among other things, the reason is the uneven recovery of the labor market by geography and industry.

Today, we can say that the labor market has recovered by more than 90% in terms of the number of vacancies. However, this recovery is uneven. Compared to pre-war levels, the number of vacancies has increased the most in the west and center of the country: in Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytsky, Chernivtsi, Lviv, and Vinnytsia regions. There are more job offers here than there were before the full-scale invasion.

This is due, among other things, to the relocation of businesses. Instead, the frontline regions show the least recovery: Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, and Kherson regions.

However, employers in the frontline regions and in the West also face difficulties in filling vacancies. For the former, the staff shortage is primarily due to the fact that people were forced to move to safer regions or abroad. For the latter, recruiting is complicated by the high competition with employers.

Disparities are also observed at the level of business sectors. It is most difficult to find candidates for vacancies in the categories of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and blue-collar specialties, production. After all, the positions of doctors (endoscopist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, ultrasound doctor, pediatrician, family doctor, dental technician) and laborers (miner, tinsmith, cutter, sawyer, tinting, roofer) are regularly included in the ranking of vacancies with the lowest number of responses from job seekers.

Why Ukraine lacks qualified specialists

Ukraine is currently experiencing not just a shortage of personnel, but a shortage of qualified personnel. Even within categories, we see disparities when employers receive dozens of responses to vacancies that do not require special education, but it is difficult for them to find employees for positions that require certain education or skills.

So, the first global reason is the uneven recovery of the labor market. The second is the outflow of skilled workers from the labor market. Millions of Ukrainians were forced to go abroad, to defend the state in the ranks of the Armed Forces, to volunteer, etc. In effect, they have "dropped out" of the labor market.

Moreover, it is not always possible for a person who remains in the labor market to find a job in their specialty. Therefore, a unique situation has arisen where a fairly high unemployment rate is combined with a shortage of personnel. For example, a person left the occupied Mariupol, where he worked at a metallurgical plant. And now he lives in a small town where there are no large enterprises, but there is a need, for example, for farmers. And so we have a job seeker, but no vacancy that suits him.

In response to these challenges, employers are implementing training programs for students, retraining women for positions that were previously stereotypically male, offering job seekers additional benefits, and taking other actions to overcome the shortage of personnel. Job seekers are learning new professions or upgrading their skills.

If we talk about the most popular vacancies in the labor market, the list is stable: administrator, loader, driver, cashier, storekeeper, cook, sales manager, customer service manager, bartender/barista, sales assistant, accountant.

What is the situation with salaries and where do they pay the most?

Today, the average salary in Ukraine is UAH 20,000. According to, the highest salaries are paid to specialists in management positions, in IT, and in the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Salaries are also higher than the average in the following categories:

  • "Real Estate;
  • "Transportation, auto business;
  • "Sales and purchasing;
  • "Insurance;
  • "Construction, architecture";
  • "Marketing, advertising, PR;
  • "Personnel management, HR".

As for the difference in salaries in the same specialty, each profession has a certain minimum and maximum, which may depend on a large number of objective and subjective factors. For example, a sales manager in IT can earn more than a sales manager in an online store because, for example, working in IT requires knowledge of English and more work experience.

Buhgalter 911 notes that the content of the author's materials may not coincide with the policy and opinion of the editorial team. The authors of the published materials include not only representatives of the editorial team.

The information presented in a particular publication reflects the position of the author. The editorial team does not interfere with the author's materials, does not edit the texts, and is therefore not responsible for their content.

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