Ukraine's youth dilemma: to be or not to be?

Author : Dmytro Duma

Source : 112 Ukraine

72% of young Ukrainians do not see their future and the future of their families in Ukraine
18:40, 19 February 2016

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Most of international and Ukrainian Sociological studies conducted in 2015 show that the trend of young people leaving Ukraine is growing rapidly. On the Internet, you can find more and more materials, bringing up the topics of "brain drain from Ukraine" and "Ukrainian labor migration". Let us analyze the causes and probable consequences of this trend.

Facts speak for themselves. Evaluation of life

In early 2016, Gallup International sociological service published a survey concerning life in Ukraine. Ukrainians have assessed their lives in 2015 with a score of 4.0 on a ten-point scale. The expectations for the next five years do not exceed the mark of 5.2. For example, the 2014 figures were as follows: 4.3 for rating of life, 5.4 for coming years expectations.

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The overall percentage of people who are satisfied with their life, has dropped significantly in recent years. Last year there were some 27% of people satisfied with the standard of living, and now there are only 17%. In turn, the percentage of Ukrainians, who determine the situation in the country as "bad", increased from 62% in 2014 to 79% in 2015.

As you can see, the trend is disappointing, and it could be explained by the low level of live and constant crises, which take place in Ukraine. The most vulnerable categories in such circumstances are youth and the elderly. Young people do not have sufficient financial capacity (minimum normal academic scholarships for students of vocational schools is 311 UAH/ 12 USD per month and 825 UAH/ 31 USD for university students). The elderly get low pensions (the minimum pension in 2016 year - 1074 UAH/ 41 USD).

Financial needs and "financial optimism"

At the end of 2015, GfK Ukraine published analysis of the survey "Youth of Ukraine-2015", commissioned by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine. The target group were young Ukrainians, citizens aged 14 to 35, residents of Ukraine (except temporarily occupied and uncontrolled territories). One of the study’s points represented financial needs and financial optimism of youth. Looking ahead, it is safe to say that young people, who overcome daily difficulties, cannot remain optimistic, even in financial terms it is difficult. Why?

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Well, 88% of people find it difficult to purchase household durable goods: furniture, refrigerator, TV, PC. In order to study, develop and keep abreast of the life of a young person, you definitely needed to have at least computer, electronic book or tablet. Not to mention sporting goods, which currently are more luxury than necessity. For example, the sport bike of an average quality is equal to 12-15 student scholarships.

82% respondents have no enough money for leisure. And it includes sport development and organization of the free time. More than 68% of young people do not have their own homes and, most likely, will not be able to get it in the future. Because the minimum wage and living wage as of 01.01.2016 totaled exactly 1,378 UAH/ 52 USD, while the average wage is 4821 UAH/ 182 USD. It is just impossible to buy your own house is earning so little money!

And these not all "positive" financial results of the study. 34% of young people in the last 12 months had not enough money for medical  treatment, or treatment of the husband/wife/child. 9% did not even have the opportunity to purchase the necessary products.

Do you think that in such circumstances people have a big motivation to work and develop Ukraine? To answer this question let us turn to the results of a poll conducted by the HeadHunter in 2015.

Why Ukrainians go to work abroad?

Despite the fact that many Ukrainians want to develop in their own country, every fifth resident is determined to leave his homeland. Of course, most of people, who would like to emigrate, are young.

Let us try to understand the situation and turn to the statistical indicators. So, "Why Ukrainian go to work abroad?", the portal received the following responses:

- 72% of respondents do not see their future and the future of their families in Ukraine;

- 61% believe the economic situation is critical;

- 60% say that Ukraine has too low living wages;

- 55% believe that the country has unstable political situation;

- 40% say that abroad people can make good money even when they do not have a prestigious job.

Afterword. Must Have: decent work

We should make timely conclusions. After all, time is waiting. Living conditions for most categories of the population are not improving. Opportunities for qualitative education, finding first job and the organize leisure are not that promising. Every day, more and more young people get a start in a different reality, such as training in Poland and other Central European countries. And where is the guarantee that these young people would come back?

What can deter, or slow down this alarming rate of "brain drain" from Ukraine? This questions is difficult, and the task of this article is to provoke discussion and try to reflect our future strategy. The main place in this strategy will occupy WORK. A decent work.

The concept of "decent work" has many meanings and everyone can interpret it differently. For graduates and young professionals it is, above all, the prospect get the top job, which would meet their specialization and their own ambitions. For young families - these are the working conditions and wages, which will give an opportunity to buy their own homes, do not worry about "the future" of their children and have the necessary material basis. For employees with work experience - an opportunity to start and easily develop their own business and finally start to develop a layer of the middle class in Ukraine.

It should be understood that the opportunity to realize the potential at home will protect the country from threatening the pace of migration and help keep the hope that Ukraine still has a chance!

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