January 15 – January 21, 2024
The ruling elite

Personnel Shortage: Addressing “Runaways” and Attracting Foreign Talent

The situation got worse
Personnel Shortage: Addressing “Runaways” and Attracting Foreign Talent

The authorities recognize issues related to demography, migration, and disparities in the labor market. The need for personnel renewal within the state apparatus adds complexity to these challenges. While these problems are acknowledged, effective solutions have yet to be proposed.

The Ministry of Economy has initiated public discussions on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2040. Over the next 17 years, a crucial focus of the government’s efforts is to increase wages while concurrently enhancing labor productivity. This will be achieved through creating high-tech job opportunities and improving the qualifications and professional skills of workers. The project envisions the development of a new industrial and technological policy to achieve “technological independence” through the accelerated development of breakthrough technologies.

A significant obstacle to these plans is the quantity and quality of human capital. The draft document concedes that the demographic problem is exacerbated not only by declining birth rates and an aging population but also by the outflow of labor resources.

To address labor market imbalances, the authorities plan to “optimize” migration processes and actively attract foreign workers, particularly those with high qualifications. This will be accomplished through measures to stimulate migration, ensuring an influx of able-bodied individuals from countries culturally and spiritually connected to Belarus. The government aims to maintain the country’s population at 9.2 million people.

At the start of the year, Lukashenka approved a new personnel policy concept, identifying threats to personnel security, including demographic challenges, personnel outflow, inadequate qualifications, shortages in crucial economic sectors, and decreasing attractiveness of civil service for highly qualified individuals.

Efforts to mitigate these threats involve recruiting personnel meeting conflicting criteria of professional aptitude and ideological loyalty. The document emphasizes the verification of employees’ political position, and corporate ethics rules aim to “enhance workers’ patriotism”.

Analysts note that due to an aging workforce, the regime is compelled to rejuvenate the state apparatus. Post-2020 elections, the highest echelons of power have seen minimal changes, with up to 40% turnover needed in Lukashenka’s administration. Challenges include automatic exclusion of the “ideologically unreliable,” and a scarcity of workers with even basic skills, given the declining quality of higher education in Belarus.

Independent experts express skepticism about personnel returning from abroad. Alexander Fridman notes a shift in government rhetoric, acknowledging the loss of talented specialists and expressing a desire for their return.

As long as Lukashenka remains in power, the implementation of an acceptable personnel policy seems unlikely. Challenges in updating the state apparatus and the labor market’s specialist supply-demand imbalance may persist until noticeable political changes occur.

The number of job vacancies in 2023 increased by 30% compared to 2022, marking the most significant surge in demand for personnel in the last three years.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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