Russian labour market has lowest number of young workers since early 1990s

Russian labour market has lowest number of young workers since early 1990s
Russia's labour pool contains the least young people since the 1990s demographic disaster. / bne IntelliNews
By Ben Aris in Berlin May 7, 2023

The Russian labour market has its lowest number of young workers since the early 1990s, with a decrease of 1.3mn employees under the age of 35, according to a FinExpertiza survey, based on RosStat data.

The survey found that the number of employees under 30 years old had declined by 802,000 people by the end of 2022, to a minimum of 14.9% of all employees. Meanwhile, the number of employees aged 30-34 fell by 524,000, leading to the total decrease of young workers.

“Russia experienced a 'demographic hole' during the crisis years with [an] especially pronounced collapse of number of births between 1993 and 2006. So this would account for some of the 'missing' workers, and this is how the statistics have been explained in official releases. But a closer look at the age cohorts at the start of 2022: the 30-34 group is the second largest in the population (so not in the 'hole'), and yet somehow the number of workers in that group declined by 524,000. Where did they go?” asks Branislav Slantchev, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego.

The 25-29 group is part of the "hole" and has about 8mn in it. The 724,000 missing are about 9% of the population. The next, even smaller, cohort is the 20-24 group with about 6.8mn in it, whose 87,000 missing are about 1%. “Why the different rates?” asks Slantchev. “The likely culprits are emigration and mobilisation. The 25-29 group is the one that has acquired marketable skills and probably has more means to leave than the younger ones, not to mention that it is also more likely to be mobilised.”

FinExpertiza highlighted that the most noticeable decrease in the number of employees under 30 years old was in the Penza region, the Novgorod region and Moscow. However, young workers were more employed in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the Arkhangelsk Region and Karachay-Cherkessia.

The study also noted a significant decrease in the number of employees aged 25 to 29, falling by 724,000 to 7.2mn over the past year. This category represents an important group of young specialists for the economy, having gained professional experience and yet possessing high labour mobility.

According to the study, those born during the crisis period of 1993-1997 fell into this age category, which could have influenced the decrease. However, the study didn't provide any further information on the reasons for the decline in the number of young workers in the labour market.