By Lyudmila Svetova
According to preliminary forecasts, next year, the Belarusian labour market should face an excess of personnel in some organisations and a lack of suitable employees in regions. Additionally, companies will be restructuring. The Labour and Social Protection Ministry notes that, at present, employment rates remain stable and under control, with unemployment standing at just 0.8 percent of the economically active population. Moreover, problematic districts (where unemployment reached 1.5-2 percent) have been abated. Last year, eight districts found themselves in this situation. Now, only one remains: Gantsevichi. However, even here, the figure remains within that forecast. Moreover, the number of vacancies in Belarus is now 1.6-fold more than the number of those seeking employment; in Minsk, this difference is even greater — almost 5-fold.
“We’ll face a new situation soon,” explains the Head of the Main Department of Employment and Population Policy at the Labour and Social Protection Ministry, Nikolay Kokhonov. “The country is modernising its economy, so many specialists won’t be in demand any longer. We must shift our employment policy from the artificial preservation of jobs to raising the competitiveness of our labour market. Much depends on employers in this respect.”
With this in mind, the 2011 State Programme for Employment aims to support employers seeking to modernise, with help given in finding suitably qualified staff. The distribution of the labour force is being analysed, to foresee its shortcomings and make provision for training and retraining to redirect employees. Employers will receive compensation to cover the cost of professional training for workers.
Small business development is to receive funding, alongside entrepreneurial activity, crafts and agro-ecotourism. Three thousand unemployed Belarusians are expected to receive financial aid next year, to set up their own businesses.
Small towns remain high on the agenda, with the list of those needing special attention being extended to include 28 districts.