By Yevgeny Kulirovich
At present, there are more advertisements on the metro promoting new jobs than goods and services! In fact, there are just 33,000 unemployed registered countrywide at the moment, compared to 48,000 vacancies. In many cases, employers are ready to pay good wages, offering social guarantees, pleasant working conditions and a chance of a real career. Naturally, small towns and villages have fewer jobs available.
In the most complicated period of the crisis, Belarus managed to ensure employment and social protection for its population. At present, the level of unemployment among these eligible for work stands at 0.7 percent, compared to 7.5 percent in Germany and 7.9 percent in the UK. In Russia, the figure stands at 9.2 percent, while being 9.4 percent in Poland and 13 percent in Lithuania. PM Mikhail Myasnikovich recently stressed, at a governmental meeting, that no mass dismissals or raised unemployment are expected in Belarus in the coming days.
Naturally, it makes no sense to employ everyone in factories; it’s unprofitable for the state, society and employees. For the coming five years, the target is to raise labour productivity 1.6-fold, without reducing the number of staff. “While encouraging innovative modernisation, the state must ensure employment of its citizens and their involvement in highly productive labour,” Mr. Myasnikovich noted. “We are speaking of the creation of one million jobs, with each person adding value of $60,000 (under the parity of purchasing power). In Belarus, this figure is now 2.45 times lower than the EU average. We should reach Poland’s level by 2015.”
This year, 175,000 new jobs are to be created, with focus placed on raising the qualification and re-training of staff, supporting innovative development and remedying the current lack of highly qualified employees. The state is to aid the unemployed in setting up their own businesses, in the field of services, agro-ecotourism and crafts. Those who have lost jobs as a result of their company’s modernisation and have been re-trained are to receive increased allowances. In turn, those firms organising training for their personnel (under threat of dismissal) will receive funding from the employment fund.
The changing labour market has brought new professions into demand, with integrated construction-related professions especially required. Meanwhile, 2.5 times fewer people are to be trained for jobs less in demand — such as secretaries.
In all, 27 small towns are receiving extra help, with the districts of Luninets, Stolin, Pinsk, Mozyr, Zhitkovichi, Petrikov and Narovlya receiving special attention from the 2011-2015 Programme for Pripyat Polesie Development.