One foot out of the door: What is the real extent of migration from Ukraine?

Author : Oleksiy Shcherbatenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Many able-bodied Ukrainians are disappeared in their domestic workplace situation, therefore they are deliberately looking for a job abroad
11:20, 24 January 2017

Read the original text at


Highly qualified specialists and unskilled workers massively leave Ukraine in search of a better life. What should be done with that? The mere fact of brain drain from Ukraine, especially among the younger generation, it is no secret. However, not only young and highly qualified professionals are leaving our country.

Polish dream

According to the State Statistics, at the end of 2016 about 17.4 million people in Ukraine were of working age. The level of unemployment was around 9.4% or 1.7 million people.

The employment place deficit (in many professions) can last for years. Often the required job just does not exist. The smaller the town, where a person lives, the more difficult is the job search, not to mention the search for locations with the best wage and working conditions.

State Employment Statistics shows that in rural areas the unemployment rate is even higher - 10.4% or almost 600 thousand persons of working population. Those who find work are unlikely to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Finance Ministry statistics show that the average salary in Ukraine is 5406 UAH or about 190 euros.

Related: Unemployment rate in Ukraine rose to 1.3% in November

Thus, the average salary calculated through an average. This means that there are people who earn less. There, according to the State Statistics, there are lots of them. Almost 500 thousand people in Ukraine are paid less than the minimum. Another 1.9 million people earn 1147-1500 UAH.

While wages in neighboring countries far exceeds ours. In Romania, the average salary is 395 euros, Hungary - 497 euros, in the Czech Republic - 702 euros, in Slovakia - 745 euros, in Poland - 750 euros. The growing economy requires growth of the labor force, lack of jobs is just not usual for such a situation.

The working population in these countries often goes further to the west - in Germany, France, and UK. These countries cannot sustain economic growth, including through labor from neighboring countries outside the EU, and a huge part of migrants is coming from Ukraine.

Many able-bodied Ukrainians are disappeared in their domestic workplace situation, therefore they deliberately seek work abroad; and this work does not require high qualifications. There can earn two to three times more than people with higher education get in Ukraine.

Data on migration amazing and terrifying. For example, Hungary is going to expand the number of jobs for migrant workers by 50 thousand. Czech Republic, where there is 220 thousand Ukrainians, is going to create 140 thousand jobs.

Related: Israel gave Ukraine biggest quota for employment in construction industry

However, the main importer of Ukrainian workers, of course, is Poland. If in 2015, there were about a million Ukrainian, in 2016 Ukrainian obtained some more 900 thousand work visas, and Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers of Poland is going to issue another one million visas in 2017.

Do not forget: there are only formally arranged countrymen, although not all migrant workers earn in Poland and other EU countries legally.

Ukrainian migration to Poland has become so massive that it took off comedy series about the plight of Ukrainian workers who came to Warsaw on earnings. The series became one of the most popular shows on Polish television.

Meanwhile, the Union of Entrepreneurs of Poland said that the increasing number of migrants from Ukraine brought the Polish budget of almost EUR 2 billion per year - a sum that is more than double the third tranche of the IMF Ukraine.

Related: Exporting labor would save Ukraine

Imitating education

However, the situation in major cities of Ukraine is not so miserable. Average wages in major industrial and financial centers, as well as standard of living, are much higher.

Much of this is due to the fact that big cities have good educational base. They allow you to create specialists that are demanded in Ukraine. However, closer examination of the situation is not promising. There are only four Ukrainian universities in Times Higher Education international ranking of universities; in QS World University Rankings there are only six of them. At the same time, our universities are at the bottom of these lists. For example, QS World University Rankings has 916 places; Ukrainian universities are at 382, 431-440, 551-600, and 701+ positions.

Related: Rise of unemployment in Ukraine stopped, - State Statistics Service

In 2015, Ukraine had more than 800 universities, but in accordance with the new law "On education," number of universities is planned to be reduced to 317. At the same time in Germany, which has a population of 82 million, there are only 250 higher education institutions that occupy much higher positions in the world rankings.

A huge number of public and private universities allows a large number of young people get a graduate degree, but only a dozen universities really can give knowledge that underpins this diploma.

Outdated educational programs, lack of professional staff, poor material resources lead to the fact that universities of Ukraine simply "print" the diplomas.

Talented and successful students and researchers rarely linger in their native universities because of poor working conditions and low wages. Talented and successful students tend to leave Ukraine and finish education at the universities, which have elective courses, descent material resources for learning, and future employment prospects.

More than 50 thousand Ukrainian students study in Poland, and each year this figure is growing, depriving Ukraine of qualified talented citizens, because the will work for other economies.

Lack of professionals

As a result, the number of professionals who are able to manage, create products or successfully implement the projects, is rapidly shrinking.

Related: We should reduce labor migration from Ukraine, and we can do it

Not being able to get decent wages here, engineers, programmers, technologists, and other professionals migrate to Western and Northern Europe, America and Asia and obtain enormously high wages (by the standards of Ukraine), have decent standards of living - developed system of health care and law.

Only a few of the high-class experts stay in Ukraine of moral and patriotic reasons. Even in Ukraine, highly paid professionals often work for foreign companies that can pay for expensive professional work; it cannot be said about most of Ukrainian companies, especially regional ones.

Speaking about the public sector the situation is that, with very low official incomes, executives declare unbelievable amounts of wealth which could be exhibited in leading world museums.

Noncompetitive salaries and difficult working conditions repel a large number of honest and qualified experts to work in state institutions, attracting those who do not consider official salary the main source of income as official. As a result of the wave of reforms Ukraine was faced with acute shortage of professionals with experience in management, which could lead the reform.

Related: Labor migration from Ukraine to Poland: From temporary to permanent

Appointing Wojciech Balchun the head of the Ukrzaliznytsia or Aivaras Abromavičius the Minister of Economy have caused considerable resonance in the society. Like, why cannot we find specialists in Ukraine?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is negative. According to Abromavičius, acute shortage of professionals is one of the main causes of Ukraine’s reforms failure.

The situation in business sphere is also difficult. The level of vacancies for employment significantly inferior level of proposals that allow employers to dictate terms. However, even in such circumstances, closing staffing requirements from year to year is becoming more difficult due to the flow of "experts" with fictitious higher education, not backed by real skills or experience (when it comes to young people).

As a result, we have dissatisfied employers who find it difficult to gather professional team and disillusioned young workers who spent years longed for obtaining a diploma, deprived of the opportunity to find work.

What shall we do

In order to stop the growing threats at the Ukrainian labor market, it is necessary to seriously address the training of professional personnel. The educational reforms would take effect in decades, that is the main task - training of the workers - lies on the companies.

Many IT-industry companies offer training program, during which the talented and diligent can gain the necessary knowledge, not obtained in the universities. Similar strategies exist for different professions - managers, lawyers, journalists, and economists.

Related: Ukrainian human rights organization uncovered forced labor prisons in occupied Donbas

Formation of a professional team increases the effectiveness of the company and enables it not only to increase their own profit, but also influence the market due to the high standards of product quality and workflow. Formation of the caste of top managers and market conditions in the public sector can deliver results across the country. This will affect the global situation on labor migration in Ukraine, create jobs and raise living standards.

A good example of how professional staff is changing life is public procurement. Initiated by the public sector reform resulted in e-procurement and has won awards at prestigious international competitions.

Created by the team of professional purchasers, central purchasing platform will collaborate with companies that carry out purchases, but are not able to pay for the work of the state procurement specialists. A reasonable approach and professional analysis of procurement requirements will reduce the amount of purchases to 40%.

Related: French Collaborators Kiss Monument to Russian Invaders of Crimea

The global problem of outflow of skilled and unskilled labor from Ukraine is much more serious threat than you can imagine at first. Ignoring the problem can cause irreparable harm to the Ukrainian economy.

Ukrainian government has to solve an extremely difficult task. But every path starts with a small step, and it should be done right now, attracting and creating a professional staff to work in Ukraine in its favor.

Related: Siesta and longer vacation for Ukrainians in the new Labor Code

Система Orphus

If you find an error, highlight the desired text and press Ctrl + Enter, to tell about it

see more
latest news
editor's choice