INSOR Roundtable Examines Labor Migration Issues

February 28, 2012

The Institute of Contemporary Development held a roundtable called “No Immigrants. What Should Be Done?” The discussion focused on whether there are alternatives to immigration from abroad to help resolve the looming crisis on Russia’s labor market.

The event was organized by the Moscow Psychosocial University (MPSU), Institute of Contemporary Development and the Academic Research Center for Social-Economic Population Issues (MPSU).

Opening the discussion, INSOR Management Board Member Evgeny Gontmakher noted that the present economic situation in Russia is quite complicated. “The entire resource of the economy is in people. Thus the problems of immigration are coming to the forefront,” he emphasized.

Olga Vorobieva, head of the Social Statistics Department at Russian State Social University made a presentation which provided a detailed description of, in particular, the employment structure of people from Russia’s regions working in Moscow, labor connections, the level of unemployment in the regions and other such aspects of the labor situation. “According to official data and studies, the scale of temporary labor migration is not so unsubstantial,” she noted, emphasizing that in 2010 approximately 10 million people were underemployed.

Alexander Grebenyuk, Prorector of Development at MPSU, in his presentation focused on labor productivity in Russia in comparison with other countries. He also noted that the modernization of the economy should be a deciding factor in changing demand for labor in Russia: “In the mid-term outlook we should steer all sectors toward modernization, and certain stimuli must be created for this.”

This assertion was supported by Oleg Netrebsky, head of the Labor and Employment Department of the City of Moscow. “Over the past ten years employment at large enterprises has been stably declining. My basic question is how to create new jobs. Specific mechanisms need to be developed to resolve this,” he concluded.

Doctoral candidate O. Parfenova attempted to provide a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the labor market with her own methodological approach. Speaking at the roundtable, she echoed the comments made by other participants concerning the need for more labor resources. “To this day there are regions with structural unemployment, i.e. the level of qualification and pay for vacant positions does not correspond to the level of qualification and desired pay of the unemployed.

Parfenova also pointed out that several centers have formed in Russia which actively attract the population, such as Moscow and the surrounding region, St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad region, to name a few. “What’s needed are measures aimed at maximally reducing demand for labor resources,” Parfenova concluded. “For example, changing the parameters of migration processes, directing them toward regions of acute need.”